20 years after Jassi Sidhu was murdered, court case continues
Sidhu's mother and uncle, accused of ordering her murder, were only extradited to India in 2019
Twenty years ago, Jassi Sidhu was kidnapped with her husband during a visit to the Punjab region in India. The 25-year-old, born and raised in Maple Ridge, was brutally murdered, and her husband, Sukhwinder Mithu Sidhu, badly beaten.
In the years since, a dozen people were charged with Sidhu's murder, and seven were tried. After trials and appeals, three individuals are serving sentences for Sidhu's killing on June 8, 2000.
However, the alleged instigators of the attack, Sidhu's mother and uncle, Malkit Sidhu and Surjit Badesha — who are accused of plotting her murder because they disapproved of her marrying Sukhwinder Mithu Sidhu — were only extradited to India to stand trial in 2019.
In India, the pair, who are both in their 70s, are standing trial on charges of supplying money to contract killers in order to have Jassi Sidhu killed.
Fabian Dawson, a former deputy editor of The Province and Vancouver Sun, broke the original story about Sidhu's murder in 2000 and has written extensively about the case.
He said Sidhu's murder has been a galvanizing look into family violence, extradition issues, and forced marriage.
"You can extrapolate a lot of issues from this particular case and look deeper into the systematic abuse that is happening with some of the Indian women in Canada," Dawson said.
Watch the Fifth Estate documentary on the Jassi Sidhu case:
But justice for Sidhu could still be a long time coming. Dawson says it's merely the beginning of the case in India after two decades, and the trial could go on for some time.
"Assuming they get convicted and the appeal processes start kicking in. You have an appeal process to the highest court in Punjab, and then after that probably an appeal to the Supreme Court of India, so it could take anything from now another five to seven years before any kind of conclusion can be arrived at," he said.
With files from Anita Bathe