Torture and illegal detention of law student reaffirms need for anti-torture law in India
On 9 June 2017, a law student, Stalin, was detained in India for 18 hours under suspicion of being part of a smuggling network. According to the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), he was falsely accused and continuously beaten and tortured by the police in Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh. This incident brings to attention the advocacy work that the AHRC has been doing in the last years to draft a robust anti-torture legislation in India for many years.
The AHRC reported that the police committed patent illegalities because Stalin was arbitrarily detained; his mobile phone was confiscated and he was prevented from informing a family member or friend about his arrest. He did not have a lawyer present while being “interrogated”, which was in fact, torture. The AHRC highlighted that, even if Stalin was a confirmed member of a red sander smuggling network, there is no justification to use torture as a tool of investigation or as a punishment for being a criminal. The AHRC calls for a speedy investigation into this crime and swift conviction of the guilty.
This incident highlights the pervasiveness of the use of torture within India’s justice system. Due process rights are inalienable rights of the law, which in this case, as in many others, the police failed to follow. This incident also highlights the necessity of a robust anti-torture legislation, which is a current subject of debate regarding extradition of suspects from abroad. The AHRC has written extensively about India’s lack of torture law as well as the major loopholes in an earlier draft law.
Please read the full report from the AHRC here.