February 8, 2016 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
Lisbon, Portugal: The Judicial phase of extradition proceedings against Khalistan activist Paramjeet Singh Pamma which is expected to start after the Minister of Justice’s decision on the admissibility of the request will witness a ‘Triangle Legal Contest” between India, Portugal and England. Francisca Van Dunem, Portugal’s Minister for Justice has till Feb 15 to decide the admissibility of India’s extradition request.
While India is asking Portugal to extradite Pamma on the basis of terror related charges from the 2009-10 murder and bombings, UK has granted refugee status to Pamma since 2000. In 2010-11 Counter Terrorism Unit of UK after visiting Punjab and thorough investigation exonerated Pamma from the terror charges.
Pamma’s case which is expected to go before Avora High Court as a part of Judicial Process of the extradition can take up to 65 days before the final decision. Portuguese law also gives the right to appeal before the Supreme Court and or Constitutional Court. The extradition process can take up to 11 months to complete in Portugal.
The upcoming battle that will be fought in High Court of Avora will involve interplay of extradition laws of Portugal and its obligations under UN and EU treaties towards persons granted refugee status and legitimacy of India’s extradition request in light of rampant practices of torture, death penalty and life sentence.
Portugal’s law does not allow extradition to a country where torture, life imprisonment or death sentence is practiced. In 2013, High Court of Portugal High Court reversed its order extraditing Abu Salem after India violated the terms of extradition agreement by awarding life sentence to the terror suspect.
“The international legal wrangling between three countries on the first of ‘refugee’ extradition case that Portuguese Courts are conducting can have serious ramification for asylees living and travelling in European Union Countries”, stated Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, legal advisor to “Sikhs For Justice” (SFJ) who is camping in Lisbon to coordinate Pamma’s defense.
Leaders of the opposition party and number of Members of Parliament of UK have already written strong worded letters to Portuguese authorities urging them to recognize the refugee status granted to Pamma by England and terminate the extradition proceedings.
Since Portugal is an EU member country, once all judicial remedies at local level are exhausted, Pamma has right to file an appeal before both “European Court of Human Rights” and “Court of Justice of the European Union”. While Court of Human Rights has the authority to issue an order staying the implementation of extradition order, Court of Justice in Luxemburg which interprets the laws and obligations of members states under EU laws, can render the extradition proceedings against a refugee null and voice based on Article 78 of the Lisbon Treaty and 1951 Refugee Convention.
Source: Press Release by the Sikhs For Justice.
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