Clemency for Kulbhushan Jadhav
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High Commissioner of Pakistan to India
Pakistan High Commission
We, the undersigned, are writing to you regarding a recent judgement delivered by a military court in Pakistan, sentencing to death Kulbhushan Jadhav, an Indian national and former Navy officer. He has been accused and convicted of “espionage and sabotage activities”.
As you are well aware, there is considerable shock and anger at the fact that death penalty has been handed to Kulbhushan Jadhav. We believe that it is wrong and immoral to kill a human being as revenge or punishment. Apart from our principled opposition to any State taking the life of an individual, this case has undoubtedly raised disturbing questions.
To begin with, the “evidence” used by a military court in Pakistan in Jadhav’s case has been called into serious question. Not just the Indian government, but the German ambassador to Pakistan has contested some of the key “evidences” used in the case against Jadhav. An advisor to the Prime Minister of Pakistan has also openly stated that the dossier against Jadhav contains mere statements and no “conclusive evidence”.
The Pakistan government has been maintaining that Jadhav received a “free and fair trail”, and had access to justice. It has further maintained that Jadhav, now, has access to a fair appeal. We would like to bring your attention to come crucial questions:
The Indian government has repeatedly asked for consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav, and been denied this access by Pakistan no less than 13 times. This right to consular access, and to provide legal representation for nationals, is guaranteed under Article 36(1)(c) of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, 1963, to which both India and Pakistan are parties. In the absence of this consular access, serious questions have been raised on Jadhav’s access to justice.
The Lahore High Court Bar Association has warned lawyers against taking up Jadhav’s case.
Clearly, a highly unfortunate situation exists where Kulbhushan Jadhav’s “right to appeal” and “access to justice” do not seem to be guaranteed. It surely appears that due process was not followed, and basic norms of international law and justice have been violated. His trial was held in a military court, not through a transparent procedure in a civil court. Consular access was denied, and Pakistani lawyers are being warned against representing him.
We appeal to you to immediately commute the death penalty on Kulbhushan Jadhav. This sentence is travesty of all norms of law and justice.
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