Kulbhushan Jadhav "Visibly Under Stress", Access Not Credible: Government

Kulbhushan Jadhav was accompanied by Pakistani officials, New Delhi said after the two-hour meeting.

Kulbhushan Jadhav 'Visibly Under Stress', Access Not Credible: Government

Kulbhushan Jadhav was arrested by Pakistan the March 2016 and accused of "espionage".

New Delhi:

Indian officials who were allowed to meet Kulbhushan Jadhav -- the Indian national sentenced to death in Pakistan on charges of espionage -- were not given "unimpeded access", India said today. The officials were "prevented" from getting his written consent regarding legal representation". Mr Jadhav, who was accompanied by Pakistani officials, was under "visible stress", New Delhi also said after the two-hour meeting.

Consular officials were allowed to meet Mr Jadhav ahead of the July 20 deadline Pakistan has set for filing a review petition. This was the second time he was allowed to meet Indian officials. The first consular access was given in September 2019 after an order from the International Court of Justice.

Islamabad earlier said Mr Jadhav -- sentenced to death by its military court -- has refused a review of his case and wants to appeal for mercy. India said it was proof of Pakistan's "reticence" to implement the order of the International Court of Justice in "letter and spirit".

The foreign ministry today said the consular officials were not given "unimpeded, unhindered and unconditional access" to Mr Jadhav. During the meeting, Pakistani officials "with an intimidating demeanour" were present despite the protests of the Indian side, New Delhi said.

"It was also evident from a camera that was visible that the conversation with Shri Jadhav was being recorded. Shri Jadhav himself was visibly under stress and indicated that clearly to the Consular Officers. The arrangements did not permit a free conversation between them," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

Pakistan, the ministry said, was asked to ensure that the meeting is held in an atmosphere "free from fear of retribution" and without the presence of any Pakistani official. Pakistan was also requested to not record the meeting.

The Consular Officers "could not engage" Mr Jadhav on his legal rights and were "prevented from obtaining his written consent for arranging his legal representation," the foreign ministry said.

In July last year, the International Court of Justice said Pakistan must review the death sentence of Kulbhushan Jadhav, and it should remain suspended meanwhile. The court also agreed with India's stand that Pakistan had violated the Vienna convention by denying consular access to him after his conviction in a "farcical" closed trial.

A former Naval officer, Kulbhushan Jadhav was arrested by Pakistan the March 2016 and accused of "espionage" -- a charge India rubbished. A year later, he was sentenced to death.

In April 2017, India took Pakistan to the world court and the next month, Mr Jadhav's execution was put on hold.