India's Supreme Court commutes death sentence for 3 held in Rajiv Gandhi assassination

FILE: Rajiv Gandhi

India's Supreme Court has commuted the death sentences for three men convicted in the 1991 assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

In this 1991 file photo, former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, center, leaning in, listens to the grievances of a man while campaigning for election in a town in central India, a few days before he was assassinated. India's Supreme Court. (AP)

The three were among 26 convicted of playing minor roles in the May 1991 assassination, but were the only ones left on death row after the others were released or had their sentences commuted earlier.

They denied knowing anything about the plot to kill Gandhi as he was campaigning in May 1991 for a return to the prime ministerial office.

The trio served more than 20 years in a prison in Tamil Nadu. Their lawyers have argued that executing them after such terms would amount to an unconstitutional double punishment.

The court on Tuesday commuted the sentences to life in prison.

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