Chahal Redux (“outsourcing torture”)

August 28, 2005 at 12:34am By: Mr. T Posted in Mr. T's Den

Finally got done with a few pages today on a forthcoming article regarding the Soering case (violation of ECHR by the UK for extraditing a West German to Virginia’s death row) and its prodigy the 1996 Chahal case. Chahal was an Indian national living in the UK under an immigration amnesty who was very active in anti-Indian government activities - including publicly advocating for a violent separatist campaign against India, various domestic indictments, and alleged involvement in an assasination attempt of Rajiv Gandhi - following massacres of Sikhs in 1984 in India. The UK moved to deport Chahal to India as a threat to national security, but Chahal claimed that his deportation would likely lead to torture and persecution by Indian authorities.


However, unlike in Soering, the UK argued that Chahal’s deportation and possible risk of torture upon his expulsion to India should be balanced by the national interest of removing him from the UK as a threat to domestic security. The good old Strasbourg Court, however, ruled against the UK and held that no matter how serious Chahal’s alleged threats were to the UK’s national security, the Convention’s prohibition of torture stopped the UK from deporting him to India because of the real risk he would face of being tortured or otherwise persecuted by Indian authorities (which he had previously experienced while in custody of Indian police).


Expect to hear more about the Chahal and Soering cases in the near future, particularly given the UK’s recent announcements that non-citizens will be deported for “inciting terror.” I recently heard both BBC Radio and NPR elude to this issue in recent broadcasts late last week.


Somewhat related international crime trivia

, in the course of my research I also found that Jens Soering - the West German national who allegedly murdered his girlfriend’s parents in Virginia and then escaped to England - is today serving a couple of life sentences in Virginia, has converted to a strict Catholic school of belief, and now writes regular stories that are available on the internets.

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