Sanjeev Chawla case: India submits assurance on Tihar jail conditions

Last month, the High Court stayed India’s appeal against Westminster Magistrates’ Court’s refusal to extradite Mr Chawla. The High Court requested details of the facilities available in Tahir jail, the jail where Mr Chawla would likely be imprisoned if he were to be extradited to India.

Mr Chawla’s extradition was requested in connection with his alleged role in match-fixing during South Africa’s tour of India in 2000. If he is extradited to India, and imprisoned in Tahir jail, the Home Ministry of India has explained that he will have access to his own toilet facilities and guaranteed medical treatment. The assurance also detailed the ways in which he will be protected from violence within the jail.
This is the third assurance given to the High Court by India in this case. It hopes to alleviate the concern of the High Court judges that Mr Chawla faces a real risk of his human rights being breached due to the conditions within Tahir jail. The previous two assurances were deemed ‘inadequate’ by the High Court.

It is not unusual for the UK courts to request assurances from India in relation to extradition cases. If Mr Chawla is successfully extradited to India, this will be the first contested extradition case from the UK to India to succeed since India and the UK entered an extradition treaty in 1992.

Killer sentenced to 10 years in US federal prison after UK’s longest extradition case

Phillip Harkins was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment in the US today. Harkins was originally arrested for murder in 1999 but fled to Scotland from the US after he was remanded on bail. He was then re-arrested in Scotland in 2003 after he was charged with death by dangerous driving. His 14-year extradition case, believed to be the longest in UK history, went several times to the European Court of Human Rights. On each occasion the court ruled that there was no risk that Harkins would face the death penalty due to diplomatic assurances provided by the US; and that the possibility that he would face life imprisonment without parole did not amount to a breach of Article 3 ECHR which prohibits inhuman and degrading treatment. Harkins was finally extradited to the US in 2017. Today, the US court sentenced him to 25 years for the 2 killings and 15 years for a subsequent attempted armed robbery charge. These sentences will be served concurrently and have been reduced to take into account the years he spent in prison in the UK. Overall, this means he will be spending a further 10 years in a federal prison in the US.