THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — India took Pakistan to the United Nations' highest court Monday in an attempt to save the life of an Indian naval officer sentenced to death last month by a Pakistani military court after being convicted of espionage.
"India believes that the farcical nature of proceedings and unjust trial by a Pakistani military court in egregious violation of the rights of consular access ... has led to (a) serious miscarriage of justice," Deepak Mittal, joint secretary of India's Ministry of External Affairs, told judges at the International Court of Justice.
India claims that Pakistan breached a long-standing international convention on consular relations by not granting Indian officials access to Kulbhushan Jadhav after his arrest last year.
"It is clear that Mr. Jadhav has been denied the right to be defended by a legal counsel of his choice. He has not been informed of his right to seek consular access," Mittal said, adding that the conviction and death sentence appeared to be based on a confession made while "in captivity without proper legal representation."
Asian neighbors Pakistan and India have a history of bitter relations, and Jadhav's death sentence has further strained ties.
The case is likely to take months or years to resolve, so India is asking the world court to immediately order Pakistan to "take all measures necessary" to prevent Jadhav's execution pending the final outcome.
The court's president already has written to Pakistan urging it to take no action that could affect the hearings - effectively a request to prevent the death sentence being carried out.
Pakistani officials have said that Jadhav has the right to appeal to a military appeals court or petition the army chief for mercy. Also, under the constitution, Pakistan's president could pardon Jadhav.
The Pakistani officials say Jadhav has been linked to 1,345 deaths in acts of terrorism in Pakistan, using fake ID to make secret trips to Pakistan from Iran before his arrest in 2016.
The officials claimed that Jadhav had confessed to espionage and terror-linked activities during his interrogation.
Pakistani representatives were due to address the court Monday afternoon.