India says Pakistan coerced ex-navy officer to refuse review in spying case

Islamabad/New Delhi, July 8 (efe-epa) A former Indian navy officer, who is on death row in Pakistan for alleged spying, has refused to challenge his conviction, an official said on Wednesday, sparking allegations that he was coerced into doing so.

Additional Attorney General Ahmed Irfan told reporters in Islamabad that the government on June 17 offered Kulbhushan Jadhav to file a review petition in the high court for reconsideration of his sentence and conviction.

He refused to file a review and “instead preferred to pursue on his pending mercy petition,” Irfan said.

Irfan said the government had now written to the Indian high commission inviting it to file an appeal on his behalf.

Pakistan’s foreign office in a statement confirmed this and said India has been informed through diplomatic channels to file a review and reconsideration petition through a legally authorized representative, or a consular officer of the Indian High Commission.

Jadhav was arrested in 2016 in Pakistan’s restive Balochistan province. Islamabad has been accusing New Delhi of fomenting separatist rebellion in the region.

Pakistan alleged that he was working for India’s external spy agency, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), and released a video shortly after his arrest in which he was shown confessing to espionage charges.

India has denied the charges and said that the confession was extracted under duress, saying he had retired from the navy in 2001 and was running a business in Iran, where he was abducted and brought to Pakistan.

Jadhav was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military tribunal in 2017. However, the International Court of Justice stayed the death sentence and ordered Islamabad to review the sentence.

India’s foreign ministry spokesperson said the government had been pursuing through diplomatic channels “full and effective implementation” of the ICJ orders in the Jadhav case.

“Pakistan’s claim that Jadhav has refused to initiate review petition is a continuation of the farce that has been in play for the last four years,” India’s foreign ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said in a statement.

“He has been coerced to refuse to file a review in his case. India sought unimpeded access to Jadhav,” Srivastava said.

He alleged that Pakistan had also coerced Jadhav to give up his rights to seek implementation of the judgment of the international court.

“India has repeatedly asked to allow a lawyer from outside Pakistan to appear for Jadhav in any review and reconsideration proceedings. Pakistan has denied it. Pakistan is attempting to create a mirage of compliance with the ICJ judgment.” EFE-EPA


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