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Centre says it has asked for Indian lawyer for Kulbhushan Jadhav

This about a fortnight after the Islamabad High Court on August 3 said India should be given “another chance” to appoint a lawyer to defend him.

Written by Shubhajit Roy | New Delhi | August 21, 2020 2:14:53 am
Give India another chance to appoint lawyer for Kubhushan Jadhav: Pakistan court to govtJadhav, the 50-year-old retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of "espionage and terrorism" in April 2017.

India on Thursday said that it wants an Indian lawyer to represent Kulbhushan Jadhav in the Islamabad High Court. This is a new demand by New Delhi, apart from the existing demands — asking for relevant documents of the case and unimpeded consular access to Jadhav.

This about a fortnight after the Islamabad High Court on August 3 said India should be given “another chance” to appoint a lawyer to defend him.

Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said on Thursday, while responding to questions, “On this issue, we are in touch with Pakistan through diplomatic channels. For a free and fair trial in keeping with the letter and spirit of ICJ judgment, we have asked for Jadhav to be represented by an Indian lawyer. However, Pakistan has to first address the core issues — giving copies of relevant documents of the case and providing unimpeded consular access to Jadhav.”

More than four years after he was arrested by Pakistan in March 2016 and subsequently sentenced to death (in April 2017), the Pakistan court had ordered, “The government of Pakistan shall once again inform Jadhav regarding his rights… he shall be specifically informed of his right to avail the statutory remedy… and to authorise the Government of India to arrange legal representation on his behalf.”

“Pakistan government shall communicate this order to the Govt of India, the latter shall be at liberty to make appropriate arrangements on behalf of Jadhav,” it said on August 3.

Jadhav, a retired Navy officer, was arrested allegedly on March 3, 2016, and India was informed of this on March 25, 2016, when the Pakistan Foreign Secretary raised the matter with the Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad.

New Delhi then moved the ICJ in May in 2017 against the “farcical trial” by the military court of Pakistan against 48-year-old Jadhav. He was sentenced to death on charges of espionage and terrorism in April 2017.

In July last year, the ICJ, in its verdict, had directed Pakistan to allow consular access and effectively review the death sentence. The court had observed that Pakistan had breached international law by not granting him consular access.

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