Raising concern over India’s move to seek the extradition of Khalistani terrorist Paramjit Singh Saini (42) alias Pamma from Portugal, Jeremy Bernard Corbyn, Leader of the Opposition in the UK, has written a letter to Portugal Prime Minister António Costa, requesting him to examine the matter and see whether he (Paramjit) can be allowed to return to the UK in the near future.
In his letter dated January 14, a copy of which is with HT, Corbyn said Paramjit arrived in the UK in December 1999 and was granted asylum by the British government in September 2000 due to “well-founded fears of maltreatment by the Indian authorities”. These fears, he added, were compounded by allegations of Paramjit’s brother being tortured and killed in India.
The Labour Party leader further wrote that Paramjit had lived in the UK for more than 16 years with his wife and four children, who were all British citizens. He told Costa that on December 18 last year, Paramjit had travelled to Portugal for a family holiday. However, he was arrested there in Albufeira after Interpol issued a Red Corner notice against him.
“This has resulted in a scenario whereby India is applying to the Portuguese court for Paramjit’s extradition, instead of British courts who have the jurisdiction over where he is the permanent resident and holder of refugee status,” Corbyn further said, adding that, “This situation has caused a lot of concern for me and many others across British Parliament. It has also become a major issue within the very large Sikh community in the UK.”
He said the British government would not have granted Paramjit indefinite leave to remain in the UK unless there was a genuine and serious concern about how he may be treated by the authorities if he were to return to India.
While seeking a response from Costa, Corbyn said the case raised serious concerns about the rights of those who had been granted asylum and the extent to which they were able to travel within the European Union.
“It is within this context that I write to you to highlight legal procedures taken against Paramjit,” he added.
Police team reaches Lisbon
Pamma’s extradition trial is likely to start in the next three to four days as Patiala range deputy inspector general Balkar Singh Sidhu, along with SAS Nagar superintendent of police Ashish Kapoor, reached Portugal capital Lisbon on Thursday. Sources said Pamma would be represented by lawyer Manuel Luis Ferreira, who apparently gave a tough fight to the Indian authorities who were seeking gangster Abu Salem’s extradition from Portugal a decade ago. The sources said US-based human rights group Sikhs For Justice, whose Facebook page was recently banned in India following a ruling by a US court, was providing legal assistance to Pamma.