ICJ Stays Jadhav’s Hanging Till Final Ruling

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Hague:The international court of justice has ordered Pakistan to temporarily stay the execution of an Indian national convicted of spying.

The UN court ruled that a death sentence against Kulbhushan Jadhav, a former naval officer, should not be carried out until it could formally examine an appeal lodged by the Indian government.

Pakistan announced in April that a military court had sentenced the 46-year-old to death afterconvicting him of providing assistance to insurgents in the of Balochistan province. It said he could be executed anytime after August.

The Pakistani court cited a video confession by Jadhav that he was a member of the Research and Analysis Wing, one of India’s intelligence agencies, and had been sponsoring rebel groups in Balochistan to carry out operations “of criminal nature, leading to killing of or maiming of Pakistani citizens”.

Counsel for the India government, Harish Salve, told the international court of justice in The Hague this week that Jadhav’s confession had been given under duress and that Pakistani agents had kidnapped him from Iran, where he was running a business.

India argued it had been denied consular access to Jadhav in breach of international law, while Pakistan said the case was a “national security” issue and outside the ICJ’s jurisdiction.

The court disagreed in in its judgment on Thursday, ruling it had the power to hear the case, that Jadhav qualified for consular access and that the “urgent” stay of execution was necessary to prevent the Pakistan government from carrying out the sentence before the appeal could be heard.

“Pakistan shall take all measures at its disposal to ensure that Mr Jadhav is not executed pending the final decision in these proceedings,” the ICJ said in an unanimous decision.

Though the decision cannot be enforced, it is binding and the matter could be taken to the UN security council if Islamabad chooses to press ahead with the execution.

The ICJ decision was celebrated in India, where the case has become the latest strain the country’s troubled relationship with Pakistan.

India’s minister for external affair, Sushma Swaraj, tweeted:

 

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The Press Trust of India reported that Narendra Modi had “expresse[d] satisfaction” at the decision.

Pakistan and India frequently detain each other’s citizens on accusations of espionage. Last October India’s government said a total 53 people had been arrested in the country on suspicions of spying for its neighbour between 2013 and 2016.

Executions are rare, however. Indian officials claimed last month that no Pakistanis had ever been executed on the charges in India. Pakistan executed Indian citizen Sheikh Shamim in 1999, almost 10 years after he was arrested on spying charges.

India expelled a Pakistani diplomat last October after arresting him outside Delhi zoo, where it claimed the spy “kingpin” had been waiting to meet Indian contacts he had recruited. 

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