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Bhullar may get German help to fight death row

world Updated: Jun 13, 2011 01:18 IST
Nagendar Sharma

The German government is "actively considering" to take up the issue of death row convict Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar with India through diplomatic channels, whose mercy petition was rejected by President Pratibha Patil last month.

The German link to Bhullar, a mechanical engineer, dates back to 1995, when he was deported from Frankfurt after his application seeking political asylum was rejected by the authorities. The decision to deport him was declared illegal by a Frankfurt court two years later.

The rejection of Bhullar's mercy petition has led to fresh questions being raised by human rights organisations in Germany about the decision to deport him to India, since the German law prohibits deportation or extradition of individuals to countries where they could be given a death sentence and tortured in custody.

"Our foreign office has assured us that they are familiar with the case and it is under active consideration. We are following the developments from our side," the German justice ministry told HT in an e-mail response.

The ministry, however, declined to comment on the decision of the Frankfurt administrative court decision on 1997, which had declared the German government's move to deport Bhullar to India as "illegal," though he was kept in detention for a month before being sent back.

The opposition coalition has asked the government to take steps to ensure that the death sentence against Bhullar is not executed. "It would be a violation of German laws and human rights. We are in the forefront of advocating abolition of death penalty and any aberration will not send a correct signal," said Christoph Strasser, the coordinator of the working group on human rights for the opposition alliance in the the German parliament.

In a related development, a non-governmental organisation, Lawyers for Human Rights International, have filed a review petition before President Pratibha Patil, asking her to reconsider her decision.