India striving for clemency for Indian on death row in Indonesia

New Delhi, July 28 (IANS) India is in touch with the Indonesian leadership to get clemency for an Indian who is set to be executed for drug trafficking.

Indian embassy officials in Jakarta are trying to ensure that all legal recourse is exhausted before the death penalty is carried out against Gurdip Singh, who has been sentenced to death along with 13 others from Indonesia, Nigeria, Zimbabwe and Pakistan.

They are set to be executed later on Thursday.

“Afdhal Muhammad, the legal representative of Gurdip Singh was of the view that he can file for presidential clemency under the relevant law before the President of the Republic of Indonesia,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said in his weekly media briefing here on Thursday.

“The embassy sent a note verbale to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia requesting that all legal recourse should be exhausted before the death penalty is carried out,” he said.

Singh was arrested on August 29, 2004, at the Soekarno Hatta Airport in Jakarta on charges of drug trafficking, for attempting to carry 300 gms of heroin.

The Tangerang Court awarded him capital punishment in February 2005 against the prosecutors’ request for 20 years imprisonment.

Swarup said that Singh’s appeal against the death penalty was turned down by the High Court of Banten in May 2005.

He then appealed to the Supreme Court which also upheld his death penalty. He is presently detained at Nusakambangan Pasir Putih, Cilacap.

Indonesia lifted a moratorium on the death sentence in 2013.

“As we speak, our embassy consular officials are camping in Cilacap and have met Gurdip Singh,” Swarup said.

“They are reaching out to the foreign office and the senior leadership in Indonesia. They are also in constant touch with his wife and brother in India and keeping them informed of the current situation.”

On Wednesday, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said the government was making last minute efforts to save Singh from execution.



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