PUNJAB – Death row convict: Sarabjit Singh accuses jail authorities of ‘severe torture’

September 25, 2012 http://tribune.com.pk

LAHORE: 

Death row convict Sarabjit Singh has maintained in a letter that he is being slow-poisoned and mentally tortured by authorities of Kot Lakhpat jail.

He added that owing to constant harassment in jail his health has deteriorated severely.

Singh addressed a copy of his letter to his sister Dalbir Kaur, and his daughters Sonia Gandi and Ponam Kaur. The letters were delivered via Singh’s counsel Advocate Awais Sheikh when he visited India from August 14 to August 29.

Quoting from the letter, Sheikh said Singh accused the jail officials of “conspiring to drive him insane” and ridiculing him when he asked them for painkillers.

Singh’s letter to his family in India was given wide coverage by the Indian media which amounted to severe criticism for Pakistan. Sheikh said he could not decipher the script of the letters as they were written in Hindi.

No permission

Sheikh has been barred from meeting his client in jail by orders of the Punjab Home Department.

The advocate said that Singh’s family members had sent some food and money for him which Sheikh wanted to deliver, but the jail authorities denied him permission.

Sheikh said that in 2009 the Lahore High Court had given him permission to meet Singh. Therefore, the jail authorities’ prohibition was tantamount to contempt of court.

He added that he will file a contempt of court petition against the home secretary for not giving him permission to meet his client.

Sheikh maintained that he had been meeting Singh in jail since July 2009 by orders of the court. He said the court had ruled that: “If the petitioner moves an application to the home secretary, he shall be allowed to meet the condemned prisoner in accordance with rules.”

The jail’s side

Deputy Superintendent of Kot Lakhpat jail Ghulam Sarwar deemed Singh’s allegations baseless. He said all prisoners in the jail were given the same treatment and the same kind of food.

He added such baseless allegations are propaganda against Pakistan and that Sheikh’s meeting with Singh will be facilitated once the home department grants permission.

Singh, who is a 49-year-old Indian national and resident of Bhikhiwind village of Amritsar, had illegally crossed the Indian border and was arrested on the charge of orchestrating four bomb blasts in Faisalabad, Multan and Lahore on July 29, 1990 in an FIR registered against one Manjeet Singh – and was consequently sentenced to death.

Sheikh holds that Singh’s case was of mistaken identity as he was neither nominated in the case, nor involved in any such activity.

 

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