EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: ASA 20/42/91
Please organize up to seven appeals per section.
EXTRA 71/91 Forcible Repatriation and Fear of
Torture/Execution 14 October 1991
INDIA: Mr Assadullah Sarwari
Mr Assadullah Sarwari, a former Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Afghanistan was
convicted in India under the Foreigners Act for failing to possess a passport and valid travel
documents. He was reportedly taken from Tihar Jail, Delhi on 14 October 1991 to an unknown
destination in circumstances which indicated that he may have been taken for deportation.
Amnesty International is concerned that Assadullah Sarwari may be or may have already been
deported to Yemen from where he may be repatriated to Afghanistan. Amnesty International
believes that Mr Sarwari faces an imminent risk of torture or execution should he be returned
According to reports received by Amnesty International, a friend of Mr Sarwari's went
to Tihar Jail on the morning of 14 October and was informed by prison officers that he had
been taken by police officials to the airport.
Amnesty International is urging the Indian Government to clarify whether Mr Sarwari
has been deported. Amnesty International opposes his deportation to Yemen or any other third
country where he may not have effective and durable protection from being forcibly returned
Amnesty International wrote to the Minister of External Affairs on 19 August 1991 concerning
the case of Mr Sarwari. Mr Sarwari entered India legally from Yemen on 16 January 1990 with
a valid diplomatic passport. He claims that his passport was taken from him by an official
of the Afghanistan Embassy on 2 February 1990 when he was about to board a plane to Kabul
at New Delhi International Airport. Despite the apparent validity of his travel documents,
he was arrested on 11 June 1990 and charged with violating India's immigration laws. He was
convicted on 11 April 1991 and on 15 July 1991 sentenced to a period of imprisonment equivalent
to the time he had already spent in detention, and fined Rs. 5,000 in default of which he
served another three months in custody and remained under order of deportation to Yemen.
Mr Sarwari's arrest followed an attempted coup which took place in Afghanistan on 6
March 1990, after Mr Sarwari had entered India. He claims that the Afghanistan Government
believes he was involved in this coup attempt and has sentenced him to death in absentia.
The Embassy of the Republic of Afghanistan in New Delhi wrote to the Indian Government on
9 March 1990 requesting that Mr Sarwari be arrested and sent to Kabul to stand trial because
he "is very much involved in killing of innocent people in Afghanistan". Mr Sarwari requested
asylum in India but never received
any response to his request. On 14 October 1991 Mr Sarwari was reportedly taken from Tihar
Jail, Delhi by police officials. According to prison officers, he was taken to an airport.
He was not in possession of his passport.
Hundreds of people have been arrested and dozens have been executed in Afghanistan for
their alleged involvement in the abortive March 1990 coup attempt. Amnesty International
believes that if Mr Sarwari is forcibly returned to Afghanistan he will face an imminent risk
of torture and execution and therefore Amnesty International opposes his return to Afghanistan.
A return in such circumstances may be a violation of the principle of non-refoulement which
prohibits the return of persons, in any manner whatsoever, to any country where their life