India, Pakistan in UN court for death row 'spy' case | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 17, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:38 AM, February 17, 2019

India, Pakistan in UN court for death row 'spy' case

India will ask the UN's top court Monday to order Pakistan to take an alleged Indian spy off death row, in a case that could stoke fresh tensions after a deadly attack in Kashmir.

Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav was arrested in the restive southwestern Pakistani province of Baluchistan in March 2016 on charges of espionage and sentenced to death by a military court.

The International Court of Justice urgently ordered Pakistan in 2017 to stay the execution of Jadhav, pending hearings on the broader Indian case that take place this week in The Hague.

The rare foray into the international courts for the nuclear-armed rivals could be another flashpoint after Thursday's suicide bombing in Indian-administered Kashmir that killed 41 troops.

New Delhi's lawyers will present their arguments on Monday to the court, which was set up after World War II to resolve international disputes, followed by Pakistan's on Tuesday.

Jadhav, a former Indian navy officer, was accused of working for the Indian intelligence services in the province bordering Afghanistan, where Islamabad has long accused India of backing separatist rebels.

After a closed trial he was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on April 10, 2017, on charges of "espionage, sabotage and terrorism".

India insists Jadhav was not a spy, and that he was kidnapped in Pakistan. New Delhi in court documents is asking that the ICJ order Islamabad to annul the sentence.

It accused Islamabad of violating the Vienna Convention by failing to provide him with consular access, as well as breaking human rights law.

The ICJ's decision will likely come months after this week's hearings.

The death row spy case comes as the troubled ties between India and Pakistan risked taking a dangerous new turn following the bombing near Srinagar.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi warned that Pakistan would pay a "heavy price" after local media reported that the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed Islamist group claimed responsibility.

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