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Indian Spy Fighting For Survival Following Prison Attack

  • RFE/RL

An Indian national facing the death penalty in Pakistan for spying is fighting for life after he was attacked by fellow prison inmates.

Sarabjit Singh suffered massive head wounds after inmates armed with bricks and other blunt objects attacked him during an argument.

Doctors in the Lahore hospital where he is being treated say he is in critical condition and has been put on a respirator.

Singh’s lawyer, Owais Sheikh, told journalists that Singh had received threats following the execution in India of a Pakistani separatist from Kashmir, the divided Himalayan region that is the source of a longstanding dispute between the two countries.

"A jail inmate has attacked Sarabjit Singh and prison authorities have brought him here in a serious condition," Sheikh said. "His health is critical and this incident is very disturbing. As this case is connected to the relations between India and Pakistan, I would pray that god saves Sarabjit Singh."

Singh was sentenced to death 16 years ago on espionage charges following a bombing in Lahore in which 14 people were killed.

Singh’s family say he is a farmer who accidentally crossed the border into Pakistan while drunk, and that he has no connection to the bombings.

Pakistan last year released an Indian man who had served three decades in prison on espionage charges.

Pakistan’s former military ruler Pervez Musharraf rejected a mercy petition by Singh in 2008.

The prison attack has drawn sharp criticism from human rights activists in Pakistan, who say authorities failed to protect Singh’s safety and security.

The attack has received wide coverage in India, where Prime Minister Manmohan Singh described it as a “very sad incident.”

With reporting by Reuters, AFP, and AP
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