British Columbia

Jaswinder Sidhu's mom, uncle granted judicial review of extradition order to India

The family members accused in the slaying of Jaswinder Kaur Sidhu have been granted a judicial review over their extradition, after an appeal court found that they may not receive a fair trial in India.

Mother and uncle accused of killing Sidhu argue they may not receive a fair trial in India

Jaswinder Sidhu, also known as Jassi, 25, was found strangled and beaten to death in Punjab in 2000. (CBC)

The family members accused in the slaying of Jaswinder Kaur Sidhu have been granted a judicial review of an extradition order made by former justice minister Peter MacKay, on the basis that they may not receive a fair trial in India.

Jaswinder (Jassi) Sidhu was found dead, her throat slit, in Punjab in 2000. She was 25.

Her mother, Malkit Sidhu, and uncle, Surjit Badesha, both of Maple Ridge, B.C., were arrested in 2012, suspected of a so-called "honour killing".

The minister ordered their surrender to face charges of murder and conspiracy to commit murder, conditional on assurances from India that they would not face the death penalty, that their health and safety would be protected in custody, and they would receive consular access.

In January 2015, MacKay wrote to the accused's counsel, saying he had received assurances from India, and that he considered them satisfactory. That decision was then appealed.

India's assurances not enough

In its judgement released Friday, the B.C. Court of Appeal said that, in the light of India's human rights record, it was not reasonable for the minister to accept India's assurances over the future health and safety of the accused.

The decision was a majority, with one justice against granting the review.

The accused both have health issues. Malkit Sidhu is 65, and was admitted to hospital twice for heart issues since she was taken into custody.

Badesha, 70, has also required medical treatment while in custody awaiting extradition.

They are accused of killing Jassi Sidhu after she married Mithu Sidhu, a rickshaw driver she had met in India a few years earlier.

Her family did not approve of the match.

Jassi Sidhu and her husband were attacked as they rode a scooter in a village near Sangrur, Punjab, in June 2000. According to reports in India, her husband was severely beaten and left for dead.

Jassi Sidhu was kidnapped and later killed. Her throat was slit and her body was left in a canal.

The case received extensive media coverage, which included a book and more than one television documentary.

Seven men were convicted of the crime in India, but several of those convictions were overturned on appeal.


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