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Sarabjit's kin want India to intervene

Last updated on: June 24, 2009 14:58 IST

The family of Sarabjit Singh, whose death sentence in 1990 bomb attack cases has been upheld in Pakistan, on Wednesday pleaded with the government of India to work with Islamabad for his release, saying he is "innocent."

"I appeal to the Indian and the Pakistani governments that my husband is innocent. The time he has spent in Pakistan surpasses a life sentence. This delay is torturing us. If the

Indian government puts pressure, he can be saved. The Indian government should not remain quiet," Sarabjit's wife Sukhpreet Kaur said with tears in her eyes.

His young daughters Swapandeep and Poonam said they had "full confidence" that the hearing in their father's case in the Pakistan Supreme Court would have a "positive" outcome.

"But now we are shocked and we did not expect this... He is an Indian citizen. The Indian government should do something. We have given proofs of his innocence to the Pakistan government," they said.

Meanwhile, noted jurist and criminal lawyer Ram Jethmalani said that the Indian government should intervene in the case.

A pall of gloom descended over Sarabjit's native village Bikhiwind near Amritsar, as soon as the news reached the family. Villagers thronged his residence to express sympathy with the family members.

Sarabjit has been on death row since he was convicted for alleged involvement in four bomb blast cases in 1990 that killed 14 people.

Rana Abdul Hamid, the lawyer who was representing Sarabjit, had been unable to appear in court in Pakistan after he was last year appointed an additional advocate general by Punjab province.

Poonam said her family has been told that a new lawyer did not appear in the case on the ground that he had not received money.

"When the agreement for fighting our father's case was signed, the lawyers said they will take Rs 2 lakh and an additional Rs 1 lakh will have to be paid once he returned home. We have paid more money than what was charged, but the lawyer is saying that he has not received the fees. We have done so much," she said.

Sarabjit's wife told mediapersons that the lawyer fighting the case was demanding Rs 6 lakh to pursue the matter even as the family was fighting for two square meals a day.

"Moreover, no Indian government official was willing to help the family in arranging money for the lawyer in Pakistan," she said.

Sukhpreet said Sarabjit's counsel had failed to appear in court for the past few hearings, including the last one on Monday.

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