No early release for Rajiv murder convict

NEW DELHI: An Indian state government today rejected the plea for early release of a woman convicted in the assassination of former Prime Minister

Rajiv Gandhi.Nalini Sriharan has spent 19 years in jail after receiving a death sentence that was commuted to life for her role in the suicide attack on Gandhi.

He was targeted in 1991 by the Tamil Tigers, who fought the Sri Lankan government for an independent state for 25 years, because he had sent

Indian peacekeepers to intervene in the island nation’s civil war.

Sriharan had argued that she has served enough time. But the Press Trust of India news agency said the Tamil Nadu

state government told a court hearing the plea

in the southern Indian city of Chennai that it would not grant her a reprieve. Court officials could not be immediately reached for comment.

Sriharan was originally sentenced to death, but her sentence was later commuted to life in prison in response to her clemency plea, which was supported by governing Congress party President Sonia Gandhi, the widow of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, and her two grown children because she was the mother of a young girl.

A total of 26 defendants were sentenced to

death in 1998 after a six-year trial. However, an appeals court commuted the death sentences of 22 defendants to life imprisonment.