September 29, 2012 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
New York (September 28, 2012): Galvanized by the Human Rights Watch’s September 27 report about Kulbir Singh Barapind’s torture by the Indian authorities, Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) has approached Hillary Clinton, US Secretary of State urging to terminate the Extradition Treaty between United States and India due to India’s routine practice of torturing detainees.
SFJ’s September 28th letter to Secretary Clinton reminds that being a signatory to the UN Convention Against Torture, United States is bound by the Article 3 of the Convention to “not extradite any person to a country where torture is practiced”. Torture of Barapind, an individual who was extradited from the United States warrants immediate termination of the Extradition Treaty between United States and India.
The Extradition Treaty between the United States of America and India was signed at Washington on June 25, 1997 with Exchange of Letters. As per Article 24 of the Extradition Treaty, either party may unilaterally terminate the treaty at anytime.
As per HRW’s report, on September 20, 2012 Barapind was arrested “on charges of waging war on the state, possession of explosives, and sedition”. Barapind had complained to the magistrate that the police “applied electric shocks to his ears, beat him, and humiliated him”.
According to Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia Director for HRW,“The alleged mistreatment of a suspected Sikh separatist in Punjab highlights the widespread use of torture by Indian security forces, which may prevent foreign extraditions to India.”.
According to attorney Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, legal advisor to SFJ who practices human rights law in the United States, Torture and inhuman treatment of Sikh political activists Barapind and Bittu warrants immediate action by the United States. Taking the case of Barapind, SFJ will seek HRW, Amnesty International and other NGOs’ support in highlighting the torture of Sikh detainees in India and in seeking Obama Administration to terminate the June 1997 Extradition Treaty with India.
Barapinid, a veteran sikh political activist, President of Akali Dal Panch Pardhani and member of Shiromani Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) was extradited from the United States to India in June 2006 pursuant to an Extradition Treaty between the counties signed in 1997. In India, Barapind was acquitted by the courts because prosecution could not prove any charges for which he was extradited from the United States.
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