Canadian court stops honour killing accused’s deportation to India

Toronto: A Canadian court has stopped the deportation of a man and his sister to India to face trial for the honour killing of the man’s niece in Punjab on grounds that they may not get justice in India.

Surjit Badesha and his sister Malkit Sidhu had hired contract killers to eliminate Malkit’s daughter Jassi (Jaswinder) Sidhu in June 2000 because she had married a lower-caste autorickshaw driver in Punjab.

Canadian-born Jaswinder Sidhu had met autorickshaw driver Sukhwinder Singh (Mithu) in Jagraon during her visit to Punjab in 1996 and fallen in love with him. The two secretly married in 1999 when she came back from Canada to tie the knot.

Jaswinder was murdered in June 2000 near Sukhwinder’s village.

Punjab Police investigations confirmed it was an honour killing plotted by Jaswinder’s mother Malkit Sidhu and her uncle Surjit Badesha while the duo were in Canada.

Based on the evidence of 266 phone calls that Surjit Badesha made with the hired killers, India formally requested Canada in 2005 to extradite him and Malkit Sidhu to face trial.

In May 2014, the the British Columbia Supreme Court in Vancouver ordered that Jaswinder’s uncle and mother must be deported to India to face trial.

But on Friday, the British Columbia’s Appeal Court overturned the deportation order against the mother and uncle of Jaswinder Sidhu, citing India’s “appalling” record in regard to prisoners.

Justice Ian Donald wrote in a two-to-one decision: “In my view, there is a valid basis for concern that the applicants will be subjected to violence, torture and/or neglect if surrendered.”