WSO Calls on India to Impose Moratorium & Halt Execution of Prof. Bhullar

Ottawa (May 27, 2011):  The World Sikh Organization of Canada (WSO) is gravely concerned by developments in the case of Prof. Davinderpal Singh Bhullar, who was sentenced to death on 29 August 2001 for allegedly “plotting terror attacks” in New Delhi India in 1993.  On May 26, 2011, Indian President Pratibha Patil rejected Prof. Bhullar’s mercy plea which had been outstanding for the past 8 years.

WSO stands against the death penalty as it is a violation of the right to life and the right not to be subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.  WSO calls upon the Indian Government to establish a moratorium on executions in accordance with the United Nations (UN) Commission on Human Rights resolution of April 1999.

In 1995, Professor Davinder Pal Singh Bhullar, who had applied for political asylum, was deported from Germany to India. This deportation was recognized by court ruling to have been made due to ‘grave procedural errors” by the German authority and could not legally have taken place.  It is to be noted that the European Union, of which Germany is a member, opposes the imposition of the death penalty.   

Upon his return to India, Prof. Bhullar was sentenced to death in August 2001 for “plotting terror attacks” including a bomb attack in 1993.  An appeal to the Supreme Court of India in 2002 was unsuccessful.   At the Supreme Court, while  two of the three judges upheld the death sentence based on a ‘confession’ made in police custody, the presiding judge submitted a dissenting opinion, acquitting Prof. Bhullar,  citing a lack of corroborative evidence for Prof. Bhullar's ‘confession’.  A second defendant in the case was acquitted because the only evidence against him was Prof. Bhullar's confession.  It is to be noted that Prof. Bhullar subsequently retracted his confession and has insisted it was made under police torture. 

 In 2003, Prof. Bhullar filed a mercy petition to the President of India which was supported by Amnesty International and also by the Committee on Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid of the German Bundestag.  On Thursday, after eight long years, the mercy petition was denied by the Indian President.

WSO Senior Policy Advisor Gian Singh Sandhu said, “Prof. Bhullar’s conviction was marred by procedural errors, questionable evidence and a ‘confession’ extracted under torture.  It is shocking that despite a strong dissent by the presiding judge at his appeal, his death penalty will stand.”

WSO President Prem Singh Vinning added, “Prof. Bhullar has suffered in limbo for the past eight years.  He suffers from numerous health problems as a result of the continuous stress.  It is unacceptable that he faces execution based on evidence extracted under torture.  This cannot be acceptable to any civilized country and it should not be acceptable to India which prides itself as the ‘world’s largest democracy’.”

The World Sikh Organization of Canada (WSO) is a non-profit organization with a mandate to promote and protect the interests of the Sikh Diaspora, as well as to promote and advocate for the protection of human rights for all individuals, irrespective of race, religion, gender, ethnicity, and social and economic status.

For more information, please contact:

 

Amanpreet Singh Bal

Tel. 905-567-1795, Cell 416-677-1528,

 asinghbal@gmail.com