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US body against Indian's extradition

A US rights group has asked the govt to withhold K Barapind's extradition, wanted on murder charges.

india Updated: Dec 29, 2005 13:38 IST

A rights group in the US has asked the government to withhold the extradition of an Indian man wanted on charges of murder, alleging that New Delhi has a record of human rights violations.

The Center for Human Rights and Global Justice (CHRGJ) of New York University's School of Law has urged Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice not to deport Kulvir Singh Barapind, an activist from Punjab who fled to the US in 1993.

The Center said in a release that it made this call as Rice finalised her decision whether to extradite Barapind to India.

Under US law, the secretary of state is required to consider all relevant facts when exercising this duty to withhold extradition, the Center said.

The CHRGJ said that according to ENSAAF, a human rights organisation here that focuses on alleged human rights violations against Sikhs in Punjab, Barapind faced a substantial risk of torture upon return.

"The United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), as implemented in US law and policy, prohibits the US from extraditing individuals who are more likely than not to be tortured upon return," the New York University's Center said.

The Barapind case comes in the midst of accusations from human rights advocates that Washington extradited or sent alleged suspects to countries where they might be tortured to extract information from them in the "war on terror."

New Delhi had asked for Barapind's extradition in 1997 and, in November 2005, the District Court for the Eastern District of California certified him for extradition in three cases involving allegations of murder committed during militancy in Punjab in the 1980s, according to the CHRGJ.

On November 23, ENSAAF submitted an application for Barapind's relief from extradition under the CAT.

The CHRGJ submitted an amicus letter in support of the legal position taken by Barapind regarding US obligations under international and domestic law.

"The relevant facts in Barapind's case include the existence in India of a consistent pattern of gross, flagrant or mass violations of human rights, the experience of other similarly situated returnees to India who report that they were tortured on return, and the individual circumstances of Barapind himself," the Center asserted.

"The evidence set out in the application suggests that an individual in the position of Barapind will more likely than not be tortured if extradited to India. Accordingly, a decision to extradite Barapind under such circumstances would plainly violate US law and policy," said Satterthwaite.

Satterthwaite also insisted, "diplomatic assurances from India would not necessarily protect Barapind against torture".

First Published: Dec 29, 2005 13:27 IST