Kulbhushan Jadhav's death sentence stayed: MEA says decision to move ICJ taken considering 'threat' to his life

After the International Court of Justice (ICJ) reportedly stayed the death sentence of Kulbhushan Jadhav, former Indian naval officer who later became a businessman, the Ministry of External Affairs on Wednesday said that it was a "carefully considered decision" of the Indian government to move the top United Nations court, taken in the interest of a citizen (Jadhav) facing threat to his life.

Talking to media persons, MEA spokesperson Gopal Baglay said that India had to apprach the ICJ after its 16 requests for consular access to Jadhav was rejected by the Pakistan government, while adding that the "illegal detention" of an Indian citizen made New Delhi on the grounds of seeking consular relief.

Terming the death sentence and the process adopted by Pakistan as a "contravention of international law", Baglay said that India got "no response" from Pakistan on getting the documents of the case and the charge sheet.

File photo of former Indian naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav. PTI

File photo of former Indian naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav. PTI

The spokesperson said that they have got no response on the appeal as well as the visa application filed by Jadhav's mother.

Baglay added that the Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had written to Pakistan Foreign Affairs Advisor Sartaj Aziz on 27 April requesting visa for Jadhav's family.

When questioned about the future course of action, Baglay did not give details but said that the court proceedings will begin soon and that the president will convene the court at the end of the month.

On the issue of the exact details of the execution, as to whether it was stayed or not, Baglay said that it is privileged information between the government of India and the ICJ. He also added that the measure was a provisional in nature as part of Article 73 and 74 of the ICJ.

On Pakistan's possible reaction to the verdict, Bagalay tried to side-step the question and called it a hypothetical question. He also added that a possible case of non-compliance of verdict by both countries is a conjectural matter.

On being asked whether the MEA has any information on the health status of the former navy officer, the spokesperson answered in the negative. On 27 April, India had sought from Pakistan a certificate on the health condition of Kulbhushan Jadhav, sentenced to death by a military court in Islamabad.

India had moved the court on Monday seeking a set of reliefs including "by way of suspension of the sentence of death awarded to the accused", and "restraining Pakistan from giving effect to the sentence awarded by the military court".

Jadhav, a former Indian naval officer, was allegedly arrested in Balochistan in March 2016. Pakistan said Jadhav worked for the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). A military court sentenced him to death on April 10 on charges of espionage and waging war against Islamabad.

New Delhi had warned that if Jadhav was hanged, it would be considered "premeditated murder" by Islamabad.

With inputs from agencies

Updated Date: May 10, 2017 14:59 PM

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