London-based lawyers acting on behalf of Christian Michel, currently in jail in India for his alleged role in corruption in the sale of AgustaWestland helicopters in 2010, have filed an “urgent communication” with UN bodies, seeking their intervention to secure his release.
The communication was filed in Geneva on Tuesday by Guernica 37 International Justice Chambers with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
The communication alleges Michel, a British national, was “unlawfully handed” over to India by authorities in Dubai in a move reminiscent of rendition. It adds that the Italian high court had reportedly earlier rejected his involvement in the scandal due to lack of evidence.
“The process by which Mr Michel was extradited to India did not follow due process and further, is a clear attempt to override international protocols relating to the process. The process that led to his removal from the UAE can only be described as a flagrant denial of justice that circumvented due process and seriously undermines any purported commitment to the rule of law,” it states.
Earlier, Delhi Court on Thursday, April 18 dismissed plea of Christian Michel, the alleged middleman arrested in the AgustaWestland chopper scam, who had sought seven-day interim bail to celebrate Easter with family. Special Judge Arvind Kumar refused to grant the relief to Michel.
Special Public Prosecutor DP Singh, appearing for the CBI and the ED, opposed Michel's plea saying that India is a country of many festivals and thousands of prisoners have faith in various religions. The accused, therefore, can't be allowed to go out of jail to celebrate festivals.
Singh said Michel can participate in Easter in the custody. He further argued that if Michel comes out on interim bail and makes some statement relating to the case, it would derail the investigation.
Michel's lawyer argued that since the charge sheet has been filed, there is no point of tampering evidence. He said the accused is cooperating in the case.
"Being a Christian, he was not even allowed to offer a holy mass even during Christmas...," said the application moved by the accused.
"It is submitted that the week commencing form 14th April to 21st April is a holy week for Christians and 21st April is Easter which will be celebrated universally. The petitioner wishes to attend the holy mass on Easter day and would like to make offerings during the Easter day," Michel has said in his plea.