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India Says Family Of Man Charged With Spying In Pakistan Was Mistreated

Former Indian Navy officer Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav is seen on a screen during a news conference in Pakistan.
Former Indian Navy officer Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav is seen on a screen during a news conference in Pakistan.

India denounced Pakistan on December 26 over the treatment of the family of an Indian man sentenced to death for spying, saying they had been harassed during a visit -- a charge Pakistan called "baseless."

The Indian government accused Pakistani authorities of, among other things, refusing to return the shoes of the visiting wife of Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav after she turned them over to security for the visit.

Jadhav, a former officer in the Indian Navy, was arrested in March 2016 in the Pakistani province of Baluchistan, where there has been a long-running conflict between security forces and separatists, and he was convicted of planning sabotage.

His wife and mother were allowed to see him behind a glass window on December 25, eight months after he was sentenced to death. But that gesture of goodwill may have only stoked long-running tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbors.

Indian Foreign Ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar said Jadhav's family was badly treated.

"The Pakistani press was allowed on multiple occasions to approach family members closely, harass and hector them, and hurl false and loaded accusations about Jadhav," Kumar said.

Pakistan's Foreign Ministry said it "categorically rejected" the accusations as "baseless" and called Jadhav "a convicted terrorist and spy, who has confessed to his crimes."

The ministry said it kept all media, including Indian and Pakistani, "at a safe distance, as requested by India."

Pakistan authorities say Jadhav confessed to being assigned by India's intelligence service to plan, coordinate, and organize espionage and sabotage activities in Baluchistan, "aiming to destabilize and wage war against Pakistan."

But New Delhi maintains Jadhav is innocent, and it won an injunction from the World Court to delay his execution, arguing he was denied diplomatic assistance during his trial by a military court.

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters

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