EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: ASA 20/06/94
UA 61/94 Fear of torture/illegal detention 18 February 1994
INDIA: Sukhwinder SINGH
Amnesty International is concerned that three men, Sukhwinder Singh, Surjit
Singh and Bhinda Singh, arrested on 13 February continue to be held in illegal
detention where they are reportedly being subjected to torture.
Amnesty International has received reports that Sukhwinder Singh, aged 20,
son of Dalal Singh, resident of Heller, Jalandhar district, his uncle, Surjit
Singh, aged 60, and Bhinda Singh were arrested with five others by police on
13 February 1994. The police were reportedly led by the Deputy Superintendent
of Police from Nakodar.
Five people have since been released but Sukhwinder Singh, Surjit Singh and
Bhinda Singh remain in custody. Bhinda Singh had been released earlier in
the week and reported that the other two men were being tortured. He has since
been arrested again. It is reported that Sukhwinder Singh's home has been raided
by the police on several occasions in the last few weeks. It has also been
reported that other members of his family have been harassed by police in the
past. Members of his family have reportedly gone into hiding for fear of police
harassment and consequently no legal action has been taken on their behalf.
Amnesty International regularly receives reports alleging that men believed
by the authorities to be members or sympathizers of armed opposition groups,
or their relatives, in Punjab have been killed in police custody, often after
torture. Their deaths or "disappearances" are wrongly attributed by officials
to an "encounter" between militants and the police, to an "escape" during such
an "encounter" or to other improbable causes.
Even though legal safeguards against unacknowledged detention exist in India's
criminal law and procedural code, they are often simply not adhered to and
prisoners are held in unacknowledged detention for weeks and sometimes months.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes and airmail letters
either in English or in your own language:
- expressing concern that Sukhwinder Singh, Surjit Singh and Bhinda Singh
are being held in illegal detention and are reportedly being tortured;
- seeking assurances that they will not be ill-treated while in police custody;
- seeking assurances that they are allowed immediate access to lawyers and
relatives and are brought before a magistrate forthwith;
- urging that they are immediately released if they are not charged with a
recognizably criminal offence.
Chief Minister of Punjab
Office of the Chief Minister