NEW DELHI :
Pakistan will amend its Army Act to allow Indian death row convict Kulbhushan Jadhav to appeal his sentence in a civilian court, a news report said on Wednesday. The former Indian naval officer was tried and sentenced by a Pakistani military court and Pakistan’s current laws do not allow for appeals, ANI news agency reported.
Jadhav, 49, was sentenced to death in 2017 on charges of espionage and terrorism. Pakistan says Jadhav is an Indian intelligence officer who was arrested from its restive Balochistan province by its security forces in March 2016 and that he was plotting an attack. India disputes the Pakistani version of events saying that Jadhav was a former naval officer who was in Iran on business when he was kidnapped and accused of spying and terror.
The Pakistani move to amend its laws to allow Jadhav to appeal his death sentence comes after the Hague-based International Court of Justice ordered Islamabad in July give India consular access to him and also review his death sentence.
"Pakistan, in compliance with the International Court of Justice's condition to allow Kulbhushan Jadhav the right to file an appeal in a civilian court, is amending its Army Act accordingly. The case is being tried under military courts and the Army Act law forbade such individuals or groups from filing an appeal and seeking justice from the civilian court but a special amendment is being made for Kulbhushan Jadhav," news agency ANI quoted Pakistani media as saying.
In September, following the ICJ verdict, Jadhav was allowed a meeting with an Indian embassy official for the first time. India had appealed to the ICJ a month after Jadhav was sentenced to death by the military court.
In a verdict 15 to one in favour of India in July, the ICJ said the death sentence should remain suspended until Pakistan effectively reviewed and reconsidered the conviction. The ICJ had also agreed with India's point that Pakistan had not informed Jadhav about his rights and that "Pakistan deprived India of the right to communicate with and have access to Jadhav, to visit him in detention and to arrange for his legal representation," the verdict said.