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Amnesty seeks probe into death

New Delhi, May 3, 2013, DHNS: 2:07 IST
Amnesty International on Friday reacted sharply to the death of Sarabjit Singh, and demanded that the Pakistan government ensure safety of Indian prisoners. It also asked for a “fair trial” against those responsible for the incident.

“Pakistani prison authorities have seemingly failed in their duty to protect Sarabjit Singh, despite he apparently receiving death threats," said Amnesty International's Deputy Asia Pacific Director Polly Truscott. ”The government must now carry out an impartial public investigation into this horrific attack, and ensure that those responsible are promptly prosecuted in fair trial,” added the statement.

The human rights organisation said that Sarabjit is the second Indian prisoner to die in Pakistani jail. Chamel Singh, another Indian prisoner convicted of spying in Pakistan, had died in the Kot Lakhpat jail in January, it added.

Amnesty International pointed out that a fellow inmate had witnessed Chamel Singh being beaten to death by prison staff, and that an autopsy found signs of torture, while jail authorities claimed that he had died from natural causes after suffering a stroke. “But there has been no comprehensive inquiry into the death,” said the statement.

Amnesty International, which has been campaigning for abolition of death penalty, has urged the Pakistan and Indian governments to commute all death sentences and establish an official moratorium on executions. Meanwhile, the Asian Centre of Human Rights has sought the United Nations’ intervention to ensure a credible enquiry into the “murder” of Sarabjit Singh.

The organisation has written to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and UN Special Rapporteur for Extrajudicial Executions. Noted human rights activist and former Justice (Rtd) Rajinder Sachar has urged for the safety of Pakistani prisoners lodged in Indian jails.

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