A fortnight after rejecting India’s plea for the extradition of Khalistani terrorist Paramjit Singh Pamma, Portugal has started an investigation against three Punjab Police officials for alleged violation of human rights.
Portugal’s prosecutor general has initiated a probe into torture charges against deputy inspector general (DIG) Balkar Singh Sidhu, superintendent of police (SP) Ashish Kapoor and deputy superintendent of police (DSP) Rajinder Singh Sohal. The trio had recently visited the European country to submit documents in the extradition case.
Pamma had filed a criminal complaint on January 28 with Portugal’s attorney general against the police officers, alleging torture and human rights violations under local laws which provide for jurisdiction over crimes committed outside Portugal.
In his complaint, Pamma alleged that Kapoor had tortured him in 1998, while Sidhu and Sohal were involved in extra-judicial killings of Surjit Singh in May 1992 and Tajinder Singh Billu in May 1993, respectively.
“We are closely pursuing the torture case and seeking European arrest warrants (EAW) against Kapoor, Sidhu and Sohal for torture and extra-judicial killings of Sikhs,” attorney Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, legal adviser to Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), said in a press statement. He added, “The EAW is valid throughout all member states of the European Union (EU) and persons who are the subject of such warrants may be detained by any EU member state.”
The February 22 notice by Rosa Rocha, adviser to the prosecutor general’s office, said: “The complaint filed with the attorney general... has been forwarded to the department of investigation and penal action in Lisbon.” This information was given by advocate Brijinder Singh Sodhi, Pamma’s legal adviser, who had provided documents in the Rulda Singh murder case to the Portugal court, leading to Pamma’s release.
On February 12, Portugal’s minister for justice had declined India’s request for extradition, releasing Pamma on the grounds that he had a valid refugee status granted by the UK and had been given the clean chit by the London police in the Rulda Singh case, in which Pamma is wanted in India.
When asked about the Portuguese probe, DIG Balkar Singh said he was not aware of the development.