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Legal Extradited Sikh Claims India Tortured Him

Discussion in 'Breaking News' started by spnadmin, May 10, 2013.

  1. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Note: This is a release from the Courthouse News Service and as such represents a summary of legal proceedings, now in the pubilc domain. Sikh Philosophy Network does not support or deny the truth of the claims of plaintiff, Mr. Barapind.



    Extradited Sikh Claims India Tortured Him


    By ELIZABETH WARMERDAM

    http://www.courthousenews.com/2013/05/09/57470.htm


    FRESNO, Calif. (CN) - A Sikh political activist who was extradited from the United States claims in court that Indian intelligence officers tortured him despite the Indian government's promise that it would not happen.

    Kulvir Singh Barapind sued the Republic of India, the State Government of Punjab, the Punjab police and a slew of other Indian officials, under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.

    The U.S. Secretary of State "agreed to extradite and surrender Mr. Barapind to India, but only after the Government of the Republic of India represented that Mr. Barapind would not suffer 'torture' in India as defined by the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Forms of Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment," Barapind says in the complaint.

    All of the defendants are Indians or Indian entities.

    Barapind claims the Indian government and its officials violated the agreement when they arrested him on Sept. 20, 2012 and "subjected him to torture as defined by the Convention."

    Barapind fled to the United States from India in 1993, claiming seeking for fear of political persecution. While in India, he had risen through the ranks of the All India Sikh Student Federation - a Sikh nationalist political organization that supports the secession of the state of Punjab from India - serving as president and then national secretary.

    "Mr. Barapind's political activities led him to gain notoriety as a 'folk hero' amongst the Punjab populace," Barapind says in the complaint.

    He claims his political activities "also led the Indian security forces to target him and his family for persecution."

    Barapind claims Indian security forces arrested him repeatedly, subjected him to "hideous" torture and broke his brother-in-law's legs.

    "As a result, Mr. Barapind decided to flee from India to the United States," he says in the complaint.

    Barapind says that in seeking political asylum he denied allegations by the Immigration and Naturalization Service that he was part of a Sikh militant separatist organization and that he had committed more than 50 murders in India.

    His application for asylum was denied, but he appealed and his case made its way to the 9th Circuit, which ruled that his application should be reviewed and his deportation withheld, according to the complaint.

    Before that could happen, the Indian government filed a complaint in California seeking to extradite him "to face criminal prosecution for 13 offenses," Barapind says.

    His asylum proceedings were suspended pending the outcome of the extradition proceedings.

    During the proceedings, Barapind "primarily argued that the Indian government did not provide competent evidence to establish probable cause that he had committed the alleged crimes described in the offenses, and that his extradition to India was barred under the political offense exception," he says in the complaint.

    "Mr. Barapind also unsuccessfully argued that he was not extraditable under the Convention because of the likelihood that he would suffer torture following his surrender."

    Barapind claims the U.S. Secretary of State "was aware of the grave potentiality that Mr. Barapind would be tortured if surrendered to India, and thus, negotiated with the Government of India as a term and condition of Mr. Barapind's surrender that he would not be tortured."

    "The Government of India through its Ministry of External Affairs agreed to the Secretary of State's terms and condition for surrendering Mr. Barapind by: 1) explaining India was itself a signatory to the Convention and thus was aware of the United States' and India's obligations under the Convention; and 2) agreeing to terms that if surrendered, Mr. Barapind 'shall not be subjected to any kind of torture,'" Barapind says.

    Barapind was extradited in 2006. He says he was criminally prosecuted by the Indian government but was acquitted of all charges and released from custody in 2008. He returned to his village, got married and farmed a family landholding.

    He became politically active again and in 2011 was elected to a committee "charged with the administration of gurdwaras (Sikh places of worship) and Sikh education institutions," he says.

    By September 2012, he was president of an associated political group. That same month, Indian security forces raided his home and arrested him, he says.

    The courts put him in police custody, at which point, he says, Indian intelligence officers interrogated and tortured him. He claims they questioned him about "his alleged involvement in activities initiating the revival of Sikh separatists militancy, and his knowledge of arms and ammunition in order to do so."

    When Barapind denied these allegations, he says he was transferred to a room where Indian security forces did the following:
    "i. forced Mr. Barapind to undress and remove his sacred religious symbols;
    "ii. tied Mr. Barapind's hand behind his back and forced him to sit on the floor;
    "iii. on three occasions, stretched his legs apart at '180 degrees;'
    "iv. beat him with sticks;
    "v. verbally assaulted Mr. Barapind
    "vi. and, during this episode, defendant Shiv Kumar filmed Mr. Barapind with a handheld device."

    The next day, officers again stretched Barapind's legs apart and beat him with sticks. They also tied his arms and legs to a chair and applied electric shocks intermittently to his ear lobes for 15 minutes, verbally assaulted him and threatened him with further torture, he says.

    These tortures continued for five days, during which time Indian security forces also "remained at his house, harassing and humiliating Mr. Barapind's spouse," he says.

    The security forces and Punjabi police robbed his home and raided the homes of his family members who lived in the same village, Barapind says.

    Barapind says he remains in jail and has been denied bail. The Indian security forces initially arrested him as a "preventive measure" because of a scheduled civil protest, but charged him with "extensive 'terrorist' activities stretching throughout India and even Canada," the complaint states.

    Barapind denies it, calling it "politically motivated."

    He seeks declaratory judgment "that defendants have subjected Mr. Barapind to torture as defined by the Convention in violation of the terms of his surrender and have breached their legal duty to safeguard him from such treatment," and $10 million in punitive damages.

    He is represented by Kamardeep Singh Athwal with the Sikh Alliance in Modesto.
     
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    #1 spnadmin, May 10, 2013
    Last edited: May 12, 2013
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  3. spnadmin

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    The story is later confirmed by Sikh Syasat with additional details about the lawsuit (through Sikh Coalition) and his current role as head of Panch Pardyan.


    Torture in police custody – Panch Pardhani leader Bhai Kulvir Singh Barapind sues India in US court

    by Baljeet Singh

    http://www.sikhsiyasat.net/2013/05/...kulvir-singh-barapind-sues-india-in-us-court/



    Jalandhar, Punjab (May 11, 2013): Akali Dal Panch Pardhani (ADPP) president Bhai Kulvir Singh Barapind has sued the Government of India and State Government of Punjab besides President Pranab Mukharjee, PM Manmohan Singh, Minister of External Affairs, Minister of Home Affairs, National Security Advisor, Director of National Investigative Agency, Governor of Punjab, Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister of Punjab, Punjab police chief and a number of other Indian authorities and police officers in a US court. He has demanded $10 million as damages for suffering torture in the custody of Punjab police.

    Bhai Kulbir Singh Barapind, President of ADPP and Member of SGPC from Phillaur

    In his complaint Bhai Kulvir Singh Barapind has maintained that sued Indian authorities are liable for violating the terms and conditions of the extradition treaty under which he was handed over to India.

    The complaint moved before the “United States District for Eastern District of California” (Fresno Division) court mentions that the plaintiff Kulvir Singh Barapind was surrendered to Indian authorities only on the condition that he would not suffer “torture” in India as defined by the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Forms of Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment; however, beginning on or about September 20, 2012, the Government of India its political subdivisions, officials, instrumentalities, and agents, arrested Bhai Barapind from his home, and thereafter have subjected him to torture as defined by the Convention, thereby violating the terms of his surrender.

    Bhai Kulbir Singh Barapind was brought into India from the United States in 2006 through an extradition treaty to face militancy related charges. Though Indian authorities had demanded his extradition in more than thirty cases; the US court had found that only three cases were sustainable for trial. It is notable that on his return to India Kulvir Singh stood for trial in all the three cases and he was acquitted by the Indian courts in all of these cases.

    He is currently heading the Akali Dal Panch Pardhani. In 2011 he successfully contested the election of member of Shiromani Gurudwara Prabhandak Committee (SGPC) from Phillaur constituency.

    He was arrested on intervening night of 19 and 20 September, 2012 by the Nawanshehr Police for alleged “preventive measures” in wake of 20 September Bharat Bandh call by NDA. After his arrest, while he was confined in Ludhiana Jail he was charged under “Unlawful Activities Prevention Act” by Phillaur police. After securing his police remand the police allegedly subjected to torture in custody.

    Bhai Barapind’s lawyer had moved a complaint in September 2012 to the Phillaur magistrate demanding his medical examination to determine the traces of torture but despite court order dated September 28, 2012 the medical examination was never conducted by the civil and police administration.

    Bhai Barapind, in his complaint, has informed the US court that he has initiated proceedings against the Indian authorities for non compliance of Indian court’s order for medical examination but he has not yet had a hearing in this matter.

    As India had signed the extradition treaty in this India the Indian authorities shall have be face this complaint in the US court.
     
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    #2 spnadmin, May 12, 2013
    Last edited: May 12, 2013

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