Czech courts uphold extradition of Indian national in alleged assassination plot of Pannun

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The Constitutional Court of the Czech Republic has upheld the decision to extradite Indian national Nikhil Gupta to the United States, where he is indicted for his alleged involvement in a plot to assassinate Khalistani activist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun. This development follows Gupta’s failed appeal against his extradition and keeps him in pre-trial detention in Prague.

Details of the Court Ruling

On Wednesday, May 22, the Czech Constitutional Court declared that Gupta’s extradition did not violate any constitutionally guaranteed fundamental rights and freedoms. This statement came as the court dismissed Gupta’s petition against extradition, affirming that lower courts had considered all pertinent factors that could prevent his extradition.

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Furthermore, the court rejected Gupta’s request for release from pre-trial detention, along with his appeal to be compensated for detention through monetary guarantee or travel ban. The court noted that Gupta argued the judiciary had not fully reviewed events that could obstruct extradition, a claim the court found unsubstantiated.

International Reactions and Political Implications

The case has stirred international attention, particularly from the United States, which has reiterated its demand for accountability from the Indian government concerning the ongoing investigation into the murder plot. At a briefing on April 30, State Department’s Principal Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel emphasized the ongoing dialogue with India, stating, “We continue to expect accountability from the Government of India based on the results of the Indian inquiry committee’s work.”

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Meanwhile, the Indian government has responded critically to reports alleging involvement of Indian officials in the plot. Indian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal labeled a recent report by The Washington Post as “speculative and irresponsible,” stressing that it contained “unwarranted and unsubstantiated imputations on a serious matter.”

As Gupta’s legal avenues in the Czech Republic come to an end, the focus now shifts to the Czech Justice Minister, who will make the final decision on the extradition. This case highlights the intricate dynamics of international law and diplomacy, with significant implications for India-U.S. relations.

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