April 19, 2013 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
Ottawa, Canada (April 18, 2013): It is learnt that Canada’s Leader of the Official Opposition Thomas Mulcair has written a letter to Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada regarding Death Sentence awarded to Prof. Devender Pal Singh Bhullar.
The text of letter reads as follows:
April 18, 2013
The Right Honourable Stephen Harper, P.C., M.P.
Prime Minister of Canada
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2
Dear Prime Minister:
As our friend Jack Layton expressed in 2011, I also write to you with urgency regarding the case of Professor Davinderpal Singh Bhullar who is facing execution in India. In the most recent development, we have learned that Prof. Bhullar’s mercy plea has been rejected and that he consequently faces an impending execution.
This case is of significance because Prof. Bhullar’s wife, Navneet Kaur, is a Canadian citizen, currently residing with her family in Surrey, British Columbia. She deservedly expects that the Government of Canada would bring attention to the situation regarding her husband and his custody abroad.
Further, human rights organizations such as Amnesty International have raised serious concerns in the way his arrest, sentencing, and trial were conducted. Evidence used against Prof. Bhullar was reportedly obtained through torture while he was in police custody in 2001.
Human rights organizations have expressed that Prof. Bhullar was arrested under the now-lapsed Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Act, which had no provisions for appeals to the High Court. Additionally, he was found guilty based on an unsubstantiated confession made in police custody, while being tortured and threatened with death. One of the judges on the three-member bench of the Supreme Court opposed the decision, stating there was no valid evidence to enter a guilty verdict.
Professor Bhullar has been prosecuted for very serious crimes – surely the victims and survivors of those crimes deserve full justice, not a questionable trial and a doubtful conviction.
Canada has a long-standing and positive relationship with India. Both are democracies which respect the values of justice and fairness. In this spirit, I urge you to express Canada’s interest in addressing the concerns regarding this case and reaffirm our long-standing position in favour of abolishing the death penalty. I hope you will look into this and ask India to review the case of Prof. Bhullar immediately.
Hon. Thomas Mulcair, P.C. M.P.
Leader of the Official Opposition
New Democratic Party of Canada
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