POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Aug 11, 2011
NEW DELHI (AP) — India's President Pratibha Patil has rejected the mercy petitions of three men sentenced to death for the 1991 assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
Gandhi was targeted by Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels because he had sent Indian peacekeepers to intervene in the island nation's civil war.
A total of 26 defendants were sentenced to death in 1998 after a six-year trial. However, an appeals court commuted the sentences of 22 defendants to life imprisonment and another had her clemency plea accepted.
Patil's office said Thursday that she had rejected the final three convicts' clemency pleas last week.
Gandhi's widow, Sonia, is the current leader of the ruling Congress party and his son Rahul is seen as next in line to be prime minister.