NEW DELHI (AFP) – India’s Supreme Court stayed the execution Monday of a self-confessed cannibal who was found guilty of carrying out a series of murders of young girls at a bungalow that became known as the “House of Horrors”.
Judges HL Dattu and AR Dave announced in a written order that they were suspending the imminent death sentence of former domestic worker Surinder Koli for a week.
Koli, 42, had been sentenced to death for murdering 14-year-old Rimpa Halder in 2005 at a bungalow on the outskirts of New Delhi where as many as 19 girls are feared to have been raped and killed. Koli has already been convicted of five cases of murder, rape and cannibalism while a further 14 cases are still pending, although the death sentence only relates to the killing of Rimpa.
“Considering the urgency of the matter, we stay the execution of the death sentence of applicant/petitioner for a period of one week from today,” said the court order after Koli’s lawyer argued that he deserved a fresh appeal, according to the Press Trust of India news agency.
Monday’s stay of execution follows a landmark ruling by the Supreme Court last week that said every death-row convict had the “fundamental right” to a fresh appeal in an open court.