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India asked to seek army officer's extradition from US

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Srinagar, India, March 16, IRNA -- An international human rights watchdog has asked New Delhi to seek extradition from United States of an Indian army officer accused of murder in Kashmir.

India should ask the United States to extradite Major Avtar Singh, a former officer of the Indian Army, who has been evading murder charges for 15 years after being formally charged with the murder of prominent Kashmiri human rights lawyer Jalil Andrabi, Amnesty International said in a statement today.

A team of Jammu and Kashmir police officials are currently in New Delhi to urge India’s ministries of home, defence and external affairs to formally take up the extradition of Major Singh so he can face trial at a court in Srinagar, in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Singh was arrested in a case of alleged domestic violence in late February in California. His wife testified against him to the California police. He was later released on bail. An Interpol notice, issued by a Srinagar court, has been pending against him since February 2010.

Jalil Andrabi, a Kashmiri lawyer and activist, exposed a number of human rights violations by India’s security forces in Kashmir in the early 1990s.

'Jalil Andrabi’s case is emblematic of the culture of impunity which has prevailed during the conflict in the Kashmir valley', Amnesty said in the statement.

Amnesty International has repeatedly appealed to the Indian authorities to ensure that his killers are brought to justice and that people’s confidence in the rule of law is restored.

It has also called on the Government of India to not attempt to block the prosecution of Major Singh.

Amnesty International has reiterated its demand for the repeal of the AFSPA.

'Those responsible for the death of Jalil Andrabi have remained free for years, despite persistent efforts by his family and members of the Jammu and Kashmir Bar Association to obtain legal redress for his death', the statement said.

The Jammu and Kashmir high court had noted that central government officials had not been cooperating with the special investigation team in a proper manner, and the Indian army has also failed to take any action, merely stating that Major Singh was untraceable. Singh left India for Canada before moving to the United States.

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