Sikh Groups Seek U.N. Intervention To Secure Release Of Sikh Detainees

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 wgad@ohchr.org

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Subject :  We Sikhs seek UN Intervention to secure release of Sikh detainees.
To,
Honorable Sirs & Madams:
I am writing to file a complaint and urgent appeal to secure the release of Sikh Prisoners of Conscience who are being deprived of their liberty by being imprisoned in India for years beyond the sentenced term of prison in egregious violation of Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international law.
Bhai Gurbaksh Singh Khalsa, a Sikh rights Activist is on continuous hunger strike since November 14demanding the release of Sikh prisoners of conscience who are being illegally detained and deprived of their liberty by the Government of India.
On November 14, Bhai Gurbaksh Singh Khalsa went on the hunger strike to secure the release of Gurmeet Singh; Lakhwinder Singh; Shamsher Singh; Lal Singh; Wariam Singh; and Gurdeep Singh Khaira.
These prisoners of conscience are being detained beyond their sentenced terms and the Indian authorities have not released them even after the completion of their prison term. Each of these individuals is in continuous detention for a period ranging from 18 to 23 years, a period which is way in excess of the 14 years sentence imposed on them.
A review of the each of these cases reveals that they fall under “Category I” cases as identified by the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. According to the Working Group’s mandate, “Category I” cases are those where:
“[I]t is clearly impossible to invoke any legal basis justifying the deprivation of liberty (as when a person is kept in detention after the completion of his sentence or despite an amnesty law applicable to him)”
As per the mandate of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions as established by resolution 1991/42 of the former Commission on Human Rights, an immediate action is warranted in this case by the Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions.
The actions of Indian government related to continuous arbitrary detention of Sikh Prisoners of Conscience violate every norm of democracy, Universal Declaration of Human Rights and International laws. If the ongoing practice of illegal and arbitrary detention of Sikhs goes unchecked, it will result in another era of unrest, torture, illegal detentions, enforced disappearances and extra judicial killings of Sikhs, a religious minority, as it happened to them during 1984-98 which has been extensively documented by United Nations, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.
I, therefore, urge you to:
* SECURE the release of Sikh Prisoners of Conscience Gurmeet Singh; Lakhwinder Singh; Shamsher Singh; Lal Singh; Wariam Singh; and Gurdeep Singh Khaira and save the life of Sikh activist Bhai Gurbaksh Singh Khalsa who is on continuous Hunger Strike since November 14
Submitted by:
Your Name
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Meanwhile Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) and the All India Sikh Students Federation (AISSF) have approached the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions to secure the release of former Sikh militants who continue to be detained after the expiry of their prison term. 

In an urgent appeal addressed to Malick Sow, Chair-Rapporteur for UN “Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions” and Ivan Šimonovi , Assistant Secretary General for Human Rights, the SFJ has urged the UN body to persuade India and secure the release of the six prisoners and the life of Sikh activist Gurbaksh Singh Khalsa ­ who is sitting on a fast unto death for their release. 

Gurbaksh Singh Khalsa has been on a hunger strike since November 14 for securing the release of Gurmeet Singh, Lakhwinder Singh, Shamsher Singh, Lal Singh, Wariam Singh and Gurdeep Singh Khaira lodged in different jails in the country. 

“Continued arbitrary detention of Sikh prisoners beyond the sentence period exposes the bias towards Sikhs who are minority in India. On one hand, the Indian system failed to prosecute those who committed genocidal attacks on Sikhs during November 1984. While on the other hand, Sikh activists continue to face arbitrary detentions without any charges,” said Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, legal advisor to SFJ.

The Sikhs groups have also initiated a social media campaign asking the community to email UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions to push for the release of these prisoners.

Meanwhile, another radical Sikh group Dal Khalsa has written a letter to Amnesty International seeking its help for the release of these prisoners. In a statement issued in Chandigarh, the organisations said that the government is paying lip service to the matter without doing anything substantial. It has also sent a prisoner’s bio sheet to Amnesty detailing the status report of the prisoners.
Ajmer Singh Randhawa

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