Legality of death award for Jadhav questionable, say intelligence sources

Jadhav has been sentenced under controversial amendments to the Army Act, say Indian officials.

Updated - April 11, 2017 03:11 pm IST

Published - April 10, 2017 11:22 pm IST - NEW DELHI

A passport (No. L9630722), purportedly belonging to Kulbhushan Jadhav, showed his assumed name as ‘Hussein Mubarak Patel’.

A passport (No. L9630722), purportedly belonging to Kulbhushan Jadhav, showed his assumed name as ‘Hussein Mubarak Patel’.

Several observers and intelligence sources have questioned the legality of the Pakistan Army’s court martial and award of the death sentence to former Indian naval Commander Kulbushan Jadhav.

According to an official Pakistan statement, Chief of the Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa confirmed the death sentence.

Diplomatic challenge

“I think it can be challenged diplomatically,” a former intelligence chief said.

Indian officials believe that Jadhav has been sentenced under the controversial amendments to the Army Act introduced two years ago, which allows civilians to be tried under terrorism charges secretly in army courts. In the past two years, under the provision, 160 people have been sentenced to death.

“It is legally not a very tenable thing. How could they apply the same provision to an unarmed foreigner whose identity is known?” another officer said.

‘First instance’

“I can’t recall another instance of an army general court martial sentencing an Indian like this,” a retired intelligence officer said. “We have had Pakistani civil courts sentencing Indians accused of spying,” he said.

Another retired official speculated that the Pakistani court martial proceedings would not only name R&AW (Research & Analysis Wing) but some of its officials. “It is not good news for us,” he said.

“As far as we are concerned, he is a veteran who retired about 15 years ago. Beyond that we do not know anything,” a senior naval officer said.

Jadhav joined the National Defence Academy in 1987 and was commissioned into the Navy in 1991.

According to the Navy, he retired from service in December 2001.

The award of the death sentence to Jadhav has been received with much disbelief by his former naval colleagues and intelligence circles, though most of them were confident that he would be back home.

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