January 27, 2016 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
London: Paramjeet Singh Pamma who went with his family for a holiday to Portugal was detained by authorities on 18 December on the back of an Interpol Red Notice.
He is threatened with the possibility of extradition to India, but the Indian authorities face at least two major hurdles – overcoming significant political doubts and legally proving the case for extradition.
It became very clear early on that this was primarily a political rather than a legal matter. Following six weeks of campaigning the worldwide Sikh community is convinced the Portugal Government must now block the extradition of Paramjeet Singh Pamma.
India has taken maximum advantage of the legal situation in Portugal by taking nearly 40 days to present its evidence for extradition despite having an Interpol Red Notice. This in itself is inexcusable as Paramjeet Singh has been imprisoned despite the Red Notice not really being valid.
Rest assured India has been and continues to work hard to convince Portuguese politicians, the Attorney General, Minister for Justice and the Prime Minister and has been leaning on the Foreign Office in the UK to turn a blind eye and let the extradition take place. However, politicians in both countries can not ignore the facts that have emerged and public opinion in both countries.
Bhai Amrik Singh, the Chair of the Sikh Federation (UK) said “We are confident the Portuguese Government will do the right thing and block the extradition. They were tricked in the Abu Salem case when India changed the charges after the extradition. The UK Government has also made clear to the Portuguese Government that Paramjeet Singh was declared a refugee in 2000 and they have provided the reasons why he can not be returned to India. The question of extradition is an open and shut case.”
“Since his detention we have been in contact with Free Trials International and it has been confirmed Interpol changed its policy in May 2015 and any Red Notice’s for those who have been given refugee status are not valid. In Paramjeet Singh Pamma ’s case the evidence presented to the British authorities on refugee status was so convincing that he was granted asylum in record speed. This alone provides the basis for the Portuguese Government to stop the extradition proceedings and return Paramjeet Singh Pamma to the UK to be reunited with his family”, he added.
What is unclear is exactly what was presented by the Indian authorities to the Portuguese Attorney General on Monday. If Indian media reports are to be believed they are only mentioning his suspected involvement in the 2009 (10 years after he left India) killing of Rulda Singh, head of a Hindu nationalist paramilitary group involved in extreme violence, including acts of terrorism.
In 2010 this particular case was thoroughly investigated by the British police working jointly with Indian police. UK police officers even travelled to India, but at the end of the investigation Paramjeet Singh Pamma was not charged. This will also be relevant to any decision made by the Portuguese Government.
Bhai Amrik Singh added “The question many UK politicians have asked is if India has any more evidence why has it opted for a back door approach to extradition. The fact the Indian authorities have not come back to Britain speaks volumes and is unacceptable. The Portuguese Government are duty bound, but to recognise Paramjeet Singh has been granted asylum in the UK and the matter India is raising with them has already been thoroughly investigated jointly by Britain and India?”
Yesterday the Evora Court of Appeal extended the detention of Paramjeet Singh Pamma until 15 February awaiting decision from the Minister of Justice who will decide in the next 20 days if the case is admissible. If the case is admissible it will move to a judicial phase.
[Source: Press Release issued by Gurjeet Singh, Press Secretary of Sikh Federation UK]
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