Former Union Law Minister and senior advocate Ram Jethmalani on Saturday complimented Chief Minister Jayalalithaa for the decision to release the life convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.

He expressed the hope that she would stick to the decision.

At a meeting organised by the Renaissance Lawyers’ Forum (MDMK’s lawyers wing) here to felicitate him for his arguments before the Supreme Court to save Santhan, Murugan and Perarivalan from the gallows, he said the convicts had been in prison for the last 23 years and the noose was hanging around their neck every day.

Some of those in the Congress had questioned the State government’s power to release the convicts.

It was the State government which commuted the death sentence of Nalini, a convict, to that of life sentence, he said.

Mr. Jethmalani said death penalty should be abolished.

“Speaking for myself, I would not have passed the death sentence in this case at all,” he said amid cheers from the audience.

He cited an earlier decision of the Supreme Court which said that a long delay in disposing of mercy petitions would entitle a death convict to a commutation of sentence of death.

The convicts in the assassination case were rightly entitled to commutation.

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