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Pak claims Kulbhushan Jadhav refused to file review plea, MEA says he was 'coerced'

New Delhi: Hours after Pakistan claimed on Wednesday that Kulbhushan Jadhav, a former Indian Navy officer who was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of "espionage and terrorism" in April 2017, had refused to file a review petition, the Ministry of External Affairs called the development a "continuation of the farce that has been in play for the last four years".

"On June 17, 2020, Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav was invited to file a petition for review and reconsideration of his sentence and conviction. Exercising his legal right, he refused to file a petition for review and reconsideration of his sentence and conviction," Pakistan media quoted Additional Attorney General as saying during a Foreign Ministry press conference.

The official added that Jadhav preferred to follow up on his pending mercy petition that he filed on April 17, 2017. The Pakistan government also announced that it had offered India consular access to Jadhav for a second time.

Reacting to the remarks, the MEA spokesperson claimed Jadhav was coerced to refuse to file a review in his case. "Jadhav has been sentenced to execution through a farcical trial. He remains under custody of Pakistan's military. He has clearly been coerced to refuse to file a review in his case," the MEA said.

The MEA further added that Pakistan had on May 20 passed an ordinance to allow for the High Court to review the sentence awarded by their military court.

"They have all along maintained that their laws allowed for effective review and reconsideration while we have protested it all along. Now, after almost a year, they have made a u-turn and issued an Ordinance to ostensibly provide for some sort of review," the MEA said.

"We have already expressed our serious concerns at the content of the Ordinance and how it violates the ICJ judgment. Pakistan is only seeking to create an illusion of remedy," the MEA further said.

The MEA also claimed that Pakistan continued to deny India free and unimpeded access to Jadhav. "India has repeatedly asked to allow a lawyer from outside Pakistan to appear for Jadhav in any review and reconsideration proceedings. Pakistan has denied it," the MEA said.With agency inputs

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