April 16, 2013 | By Editor
OPEN LETTER FROM THE FEDERATION OF SIKH ORGANISATIONS
TO THE INDIAN GOVERNMENT
15 April 2013
HANGING PROFESSOR DAVINDERPAL SINGH BHULLAR WILL BE THE FINAL STEP IN A MASSIVE MISCARRIAGE OF JUSTICE AND ANOTHER INDICATION SIKHS CAN NEVER GET JUSTICE IN INDIA
As of today, 140 or more than two-thirds of countries in the world have abolished the death penalty in law or practice. However, India, the world’s so-called largest democracy, is defying world opinion and preparing to hang an innocent man. Sikhs across the globe in their millions are dismayed at the action of the Indian state.
Several thousand Sikhs have today laid siege to the High Commission of India in London to demand India immediately remove the Professor from death row. The Professor should be released without delay given his deteriorating health, following 18 years in prison with the last 11 on death row, and the last two-and-a-half years suffering from serious mental illness. Similar protests are taking place across Europe, Canada, USA, Australia and New Zealand.
In December 1994 Professor Bhullar fled to Germany following the killing of his father and uncle by Sumedh Saini, the current Director General of Punjab Police. He was deported from Germany in January 1995 following assurances by the Indian authorities to the German Government he had nothing to fear if he returned to India. Subsequently, the courts in Germany declared his deportation was illegal and in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights. Germany remains morally obliged to do all it can to make sure the Professor is not hanged and seek his immediate release.
Upon his arrival in Delhi the Professor was immediately arrested and a confessional statement obtained through torture that he later retracted as it was made under police pressure. The Professor had no access to a lawyer during his initial detention and trial. He was convicted on the basis of an unsubstantiated “confession” that he made to the police with 133 witnesses failing to identify him and sentenced to death notwithstanding the leading judge in the Supreme Court concluding he should be released due to lack of evidence. He said the Professor could not be found guilty of conspiracy as this would require by definition that he conspired with another and as others named in the confession statement are acquitted, it is impossible for him to conspire with himself.
A split judgement in the Supreme Court has never in Indian history resulted in the imposition of the death penalty. Even the two judges in favour of the death sentence observed that the split judgement could be a factor considered in the mercy petition process – the final opportunity for individuals to have their death sentences commuted.
For the last 11 years the Professor has been on death row in Tihar Central Prison, Delhi and held in solitary confinement spending 22 hours in a 9×7 cell. This has been a torture worse than death. It is no surprise that his mental state has been very poor for the last two-and-a-half years and he has been hospitalised. In resolution 2005/59, the UN Commission on Human Rights called upon all states that retain the death penalty “Not to impose the death penalty on a person suffering from any mental or intellectual disabilities or to execute any such person”.
Amnesty International launched its third Urgent Action appeal for Professor Bhullar on Friday 12 April 2013 calling upon the Indian government not to execute the Professor, to remove him from death row immediately, and retry his case in proceedings that comply with international fair trial standards.
If India executes Professor Bhullar it will signal to the world that India is backward and prepared to go to extreme lengths to eliminate all Sikh political prisoners. India will also be testing the resolve of countries in the civilised world who will realise India has no respect for human rights, is barbaric and has no compassion and is using trade as blackmail.
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