India urges UN court to stop Pakistan executing ‘spy’

THE HAGUE (AFP) – The UN’s top court will hold an emergency hearing on Monday as India seeks to stop Pakistan from executing an Indian national accused of spying.

New Delhi has already protested to Islamabad over the death sentence imposed on Kulbushan Sudhir Jadhav by a Pakistani military court, after he was found guilty in a closed heading last month.

Jadhav was arrested in the southwestern province of Balochistan last year and Pakistani officials claim he has confessed to spying for Indian intelligence services.

But India has denied he was a spy, and this week lodged a protest with the International Court of Justice in The Hague accusing Pakistan of “egregious violations of the Vienna convention”.

India was not informed of Jadhav’s detention “until long after his arrest” and Pakistan “failed to inform” him of his rights, according to New Delhi.

India is seeking the “immediate suspension of the sentence of death awarded to the accused,” the court said in a statement.

“India submits that it has information that Mr. Jadhav was ‘kidnapped from Iran, where he was carrying on business after retiring from the Indian Navy’,” it added.

The court “will hold public hearings on Monday 15 May … in the proceedings instituted by the Republic of India on 8 May 2017 against the Islamic Republic of Pakistan”, court officials said in a statement late Wednesday.

The hearing will be “devoted to the request for the indication of provisional measures” demanded by India which include ordering Islamabad “to take all measures necessary to ensure that (Jadhav) is not executed” until the court has had a chance to consider the case in full.

Nuclear arch-rivals India and Pakistan routinely accuse one another of sending spies into their countries, and it is not uncommon for either nation to expel diplomats accused of espionage, particularly at times of high tension.

However, death sentences have rarely been issued in recent years.