'Indian prisoners facing grave threat in Pakistani jails'
- Mar 27, 2013, 12:18 PM IST
New Delhi: Indian prisoners lodged in Pakistan jails, including Sarabjit Singh, are facing a grave threat, alleges a Pakistani lawyer.
"Indians in Lahore's Kot Lakhpat jail, including death row prisoner Sarabjit Singh, are facing a grave threat," alleged Advocate Tehseen Khan, who was recently released from the same prison.
Indian national Chamel Singh, who was about to complete his five-year imprisonment on charges of espionage, died on January 15 in the Pakistani jail, amid reports that he was "mercilessly beaten" by prison staff two days before his death.
Khan claims to be the eyewitness of the incident. He alleged that Singh was "mercilessly beaten" by jail staff, who made "racial remarks against Indians and minorities".
He claimed he had seen prison staff assault Chamel Singh for using water from a tap to wash clothes and that the Indian national died two days later at Jinnah Hospital.
Although the Pakistan authorities rejected the allegation saying Singh died of heart attack, his autopsy report also confirmed that he was tortured to death. According to the postmortem report, Singh’s body had several injuries.
However, officials of the Indian High Commission said they had been formally informed by Pakistani authorities that Singh had died in Lahore on January 15.
Khan, who was released on January 18, told the media he was jailed after being framed in a case.
Singh, a resident of Pragwal in the northern Indian state Jammu and Kashmir, was arrested and convicted for espionage in Pakistan in 2008. He was sentenced to five years imprisonment in August 2010.
His family contended he was not involved in spying and had gone missing from his fields on the border with Pakistan in July 2008. He was about to complete his five-year prison term.
Earlier this month, Pakistan released 10 Indian prisoners, including seven fishermen, from jails in the country; whereas, in November last year, as a goodwill gesture, India released seven Pakistani prisoners. This is a small example of simple steps that the two countries take to ease tensions, the results of which can be set back when incidents like Singh’s death occur.
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