Portugal refused the extradition of Iqbal Singh, detained for three months in Loures on suspicion of belonging to a terrorist network, but the Court of Appeal considered as guarantees given by the Indian authorities are not sufficient and that, if the suspect returned to India, it could be sentenced to death or life imprisonment.
After three months in prison in Lisbon, the defendant is once again at liberty and without any measure of coercion, but for the Indian state, the face of “Shera”, as he is known among friends, is synonymous with terrorism, drug trafficking and criminal association.
The citizen is suspected of belonging to Pakistan’s largest insurgent group of Islamic nature and whose aim is to conquer the region of Kashmir.
The terrorist attacks, according to local police, would be financed with the heroin deal.
Three months ago, he was arrested in Loures, on the way out of this building where he lived, a few days after being asked for a residence permit with an allegedly false passport.
Iqbal was wanted internationally, and the Indian authorities immediately requested extradition from Portugal with “the sovereign and irrevocable guarantee” that the accused, if extradited, would not be subject to a prison sentence exceeding 25 years, the limit provided for by the Penal Code in Portugal, an extradition that has a green light from the Minister of Justice and the Public Ministry, and to which the suspect has always opposed.
In the judgment of the Relation to which a SIC had access, it can be read that “this presupposed guarantee does not provide any guarantee that the argument will not be sentenced to life imprisonment, nor to more than a prison sentence of more than 25 years”.
The judges consider that the only commitment of the Indian State signed by the Minister of Interior is innocuous and violates the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic.
They recall the case of Abu Salem, the Indian terrorist who, in 2004, Portugal agreed to extradite with the guarantees now provided by the Indian State and who would end up being sentenced to life imprisonment, violating the solemn commitment established with the Portuguese Government.
“The practice of the requested State intolerably violates the principle of mutual trust, since it disregarded the principle of specialty in extradition situations analogous to those in the case file (…) the Abu Salem case.”
The Public Prosecutor’s Office has 10 days to appeal and a response from the Indian State is also awaited, which can refer the case to Portugal for Iqbal to be tried by the Portuguese justice or, alternatively, try him in absentia in India and, in case of sentence, wait for the sentence to be served in a prison in Portugal.