Portugal has refused a request from New Delhi to extradite Paramjeet Singh suspected of involvement in bomb attacks and murder because he has refugee status in Britain, Lisbon’s justice ministry said today.
Justice Minister Francisca Van Dunem “has decided not to accept the extradition request” for Singh due to his refugee status, granted in 2000, the ministry said in a statement.
Singh was freed from provisional detention today and will return to Britain, said his Portuguese lawyer Manuel Luis Ferreira.
Singh was arrested under an Interpol warrant in a hotel in Portugal’s Algarve region where he was staying with his wife and their four children. He had been held in a jail in Beja, southern Portugal, since late December.
“A large part of the events for which the extradition was requested took place in India at a time when Mr Singh had already obtained refugee status,” the justice ministry said.
Singh is a leader of the banned Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) and wanted for conspiracy in two 2010 bomb attacks in Punjab and the 2009 killing of Rulda Singh, leader of a Hindu group.
Ferreira said the charges against his client were unfounded and that he had been a victim of torture in India before he was granted asylum in Britain, where he now lives. The lawyer hailed Portugal’s decision as “courageous”.