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Gandhi killers will face execution

Mercy petitions by three men sentenced to death for the 1991 assassination of former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi have been rejected by President Pratibha Patil .

Gandhi was targeted by Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels because he had sent Indian peacekeepers to intervene in the island's civil war.

A total of 26 defendants were sentenced to death in 1998 after a six-year trial. However, an appeals court commuted the sentences of 22 defendants to life imprisonment and another had her clemency plea accepted.

The president's office said she had rejected the final three convicts' clemency pleas.

Gandhi's widow, Sonia, is the current leader of the ruling Congress party and his son Rahul is seen as next in line to be prime minister.

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