New Delhi: Under pressure from India and other countries, Pakistan was reported on Wednesday to be mulling to amend its Army Act to enable Indian convict Kulbhushan Jadhav to appeal his death sentence in a civilian court.
The former Indian Navy officer was tried and sentenced by a kangaroo Pakistani military court. Islamabad’s existing laws did not allow him to appeal.
The 49-year-old Jadhav was sentenced to death in 2017 on trumped up charges of espionage and terrorism after the Pakistan Army abducted him from Iran where he had gone for business purposes.
Islamabad’s fresh move came after the United Nations’ International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordered Pakistan in July 2019 to give India consular access to Jadhav and also to review his death sentence.
“Pakistan, in compliance with the International Court of Justice’s condition to allow Kulbhushan Jadhav the right to file an appeal in a civilian court, is amending its Army Act accordingly. The case is being tried under military courts and the Army Act law forbade such individuals or groups from filing an appeal and seeking justice from the civilian court but a special amendment is being made for Kulbhushan Jadhav,” media reports from Pakistan said.
In September, the Indian Navy officer was allowed a meeting with an Indian official for the first time.
Pakistan claims that he was arrested from Balochistan on March 3, 2016, and that he was plotting an attack. India rebutted this claim and clarified that, in fact, he was abducted by the Pakistani security forces from Iran, where he was running a business, and falsely charged him with espionage and terror.
India had appealed to the ICJ a month after Jadhav was sentenced to death.
The ICJ had also agreed with India’s stand that Pakistan did not inform Jadhav about his rights and that Islamabad deprived New Delhi of the right to communicate with and have access to the officer, to visit him in detention and to arrange for his legal representation.