LISBON: Portugal has refused a request from New Delhi to extradite an Indian man suspected of involvement in a bombing and murder because he has refugee status in Britain, Lisbon’s justice ministry said Friday.
Justice Minister Francisca Van Dunem “has decided not to accept the extradition request” for Paramjeet Singh due to his refugee status, granted in 2000, the ministry said in a statement.
Singh was freed from provisional detention on Friday and will return to Britain, said his Portuguese lawyer Manuel Luis Ferreira.
Singh was arrested under an Interpol warrant in a hotel in Portugal’s Algarve region where he was staying with his wife and their four children. He had been held in a jail in Beja, southern Portugal, since late December.
“A large part of the events for which the extradition was requested took place in India at a time when Singh had already obtained refugee status,” the justice ministry said.
According to the Indian press, Singh is a Sikh activist suspected of involvement in a 2010 bomb attack in northeastern India and the 2009 assassination of Hindu nationalist leader Rashtriya Sikh Sangat.
Ferreira said the charges against his client were unfounded and that he had been a victim of torture in India before he was granted asylum in Britain, where he now lives.
The lawyer hailed Portugal’s decision as “courageous”.