For the first time in independent India, the Mathura district jail has begun preparations to hang a woman. The 38-year-old Shabnam Ali was convicted of murdering seven of her family members, her mother, father, two brothers, cousin, sister-in-law, and a 10-month-old nephew by serving sedative-laced tea and then slicing their throats.
At the time of this crime, Shabnam, who belongs to Amroha, was aged 25. While she was a primary school teacher with a double MA, she wanted to marry Saleem, a 6th grade dropout, who was working but her family was against marriage. Both of them together killed the whole family. But both were sentenced to death by the Amroha Sessions Court in UP.
According to the prosecution, Saleem had come to Shabnam’s house in Bawankhedi village on the night of 14 April 2008 and slit her mother’s throats with an axe as Shabnam was holding her hair. At the time of their arrest, Shabnam was seven weeks pregnant, five days after the murder. Her son, Taj, now 12, is staying with his foster parents, Usman, a journalist, and his wife, Suhina.
Later, in 2010, Shabnam and Saleem were sentenced to death by the Amroha Session Court. Since then, Shabnam has again requested the High Court of Allahabad, the Supreme Court, the President and the Apex Court to overturn the death penalty. Her review petition was denied by the SC in January 2020, but it is claimed that Shabnam has not yet exhausted all judicial remedies.
However, the Amroha session court has yet to release the death warrant consisting of the date and time of the hanging. Uttar Pradesh’s senior prison officials say they have reminded the court on at least two occasions. In January last year, the Supreme Court upheld Shabnam’s death sentence.
Although her lawyer said they were not informed of a death warrant. The preparations are on the way in the Mathura District Jail, the only place in the country where a woman can be hanged.
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