Thousands of people gathered in front of Westminster Magistrates Court yesterday morning to stand against the politically driven extradition case of the West Midlands 3.
Sikhs protesting were thrilled to hear the news that the Crown Prosecution Service dropped the case on the basis of no evidence.
The 3 UK born Sikh human rights activists were arrested in December 2020 on fabricated charges.
They were already investigated in 2010 by the British authorities and the West Midlands 3 were found to be innocent.
Despite no new evidence coming to light, Home Secretary Priti Patel signed the extradition paper straight after Dominic Raab’s visit to India.
Speaking after the hearing, solicitor Gareth Pierce said: “A request was made by the Indian government for the extradition of three men, the government must’ve known on the evidence it produced they were innocent of the charges. They must’ve known because the Indian government, today withdrew the case, abandoned the case on the basis that they had no evidence on which to charge.
“It is an extraordinarily serious matter that a government, knowing that the evidence it has, can go against three men in another country with the hope to obtain their extradition to India. There are more reasons to drop the case today. This case being tried not for the first time in this country.
“What the Indian government did not tell the courts is that there have been trials of this case of other men in India over many years in which they have all been acquitted, and the judgements in those cases have said that the same evidence produced here has been fabricated, witnesses were coerced, witnesses did not say what the prosecution claimed they had said.
“How can it be that the prosecution can try and try and try again on the same discredited evidence?
“In some ways it’s a disappointment that this case has finished in this court without the defence evidence being heard. The defence evidence would have been important to tell a convincing history of the behaviour of a police force against the Sikh community.
“It would have helped to understand that a British man, Mr Johal, has been detained year after year on evidence of the same kind. A wafer-thin case based upon the confession that has come from torture.”
Manivjyot Singh from Sikh Human Rights added: “This is landmark, we know that India had 40 extraditions lined up from the UK. Had this gone through it would have been given some green flag to these other extraditions. This is a massive victory, those other extraditions won’t go through. The Khalsa panth, when organised, when mobilised, when together can take on any sarkar, any government at any time, any place, anywhere.”
Deepa Singh from Sikh Youth UK mentioned: “The atmosphere yesterday was amazing. It’s a great victory for the Sikh activists in the UK fighting the India and UK collusion. A lot of work went behind this campaign and with Maharaj’s kirpa everything went well.”
The shadow secretary of state for International Development, MP Preet Kaur Gill, tweeted: “This is a huge victory for the #WestMidlands3 and the Sikh community. Gareth Pierce, statement raises serious questions for the Govt- why did the Home Sec sign the extradition order, why she wasted taxpayers money, and put British families and Sikh community under immense distress.”
Sikhs in the UK are now demanding the resignation of Home Secretary Priti Patel, as they believe the extradition should never have been approved in the first place.