Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

The death sentence on Davinder Pal Singh

Delivered in Plenary - 7th July 2011

Madam President

The ECR has no collective view on the death penalty for murder, leaving it to MEPs to decide individually according to their own conscience. India, as a democratic country, reserves the right to impose death sentences on those convicted of the most heinous capital crimes.

We in the ECR agree that the EU has a right to request clarification of the controversial circumstances of the arrest, police custody and apparent confession made by Davinder Pal Singh Bhullar, including the issue of his deportation from Germany and the fact the conviction was based on a majority decision, leaving some doubt as to whether the conviction is totally safe.

India is a democracy with an independent judiciary and by and large has an adequate appellate process. It is also important to note that Mr Singh Bhullar is allegedly linked to the Khalistan Liberation Force, which is committed to carving out an independent Sikh state in India by armed force. In the past its followers have allegedly committed many terrorist atrocities and assassinations of high-level political targets. The EUís position on the death penalty is of course well known in India. However, we also need to understand the enormous internal security pressures facing India, not only from the Khalistan armed movement but from the Naxalite insurgency and more generally from Jihadi terrorism emulating from extremists in Pakistan.