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Pakistan to amend Army Act to allow Kulbhushan Jadhav appeal against conviction

PTI Islamabad | Updated on November 13, 2019 Published on November 13, 2019

Kulbhushan Jadhav   -  PTI

This move will help Pakistan implement the International Court of Justice’s July 17 verdict.

Pakistan is preparing to amend the Army Act to allow Kulbhushan Jadhav the right to file an appeal against his conviction in a civilian court, according to defence sources here.

Jadhav, 49, a retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of “espionage and terrorism” after a closed trial in April 2017.

India has maintained that Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran where he had business interests after retiring from the Navy.

Also read: Interactive: Kulbhushan Jadhav case timeline

Defence sources said that the government was working on a draft to amend the Army Act to allow Jadhav the right to file an appeal against his conviction in a civilian court to implement the International Court of Justice’s (ICJ) July 17 verdict. The amended law will outline the procedure to seek redress in the civil courts against sentence by Army courts.

ICJ’s verdict

In a major victory for India, the ICJ on July 17 ruled that Pakistan must review the death sentence given to Jadhav. India had argued that consular access was being denied to its national in violation of the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.

Rejecting Pakistan’s objection to admissibility of the Indian application in the case, the court in its 42-page order held that “a continued stay of execution constitutes an indispensable condition for the effective review” of the sentence of Jadhav that had strained relations between the two neighbouring countries.

Also read: Pakistan violated its obligations under Vienna Convention in Jadhav’s case: ICJ President tells UNGA

The bench, however, rejected some remedies sought by India, including annulment of the military court’s decision convicting Jadhav, his release and safe passage to India. After much dilly-dallying, Pakistan on September 2 granted India consular access to Jadhav under the direction of the ICJ.

Pakistan claims that its security forces arrested Jadhav from restive Balochistan province on March 3, 2016 after he reportedly entered from Iran.

Published on November 13, 2019
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