State of India vs. Richard de Wit (70th hearing)

Released by Vic Groves, Tuesday April 19th 2016 from Guernsey for Immediate Use

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Prisoners could not be transported to court today because of serious riots and unrest across the valley. Since 12th April, 5 people have been killed by the security forces. Protests and demonstrations are being held by pro-separatist groups seeking independence from the State of India.

Nonetheless, court did convene with the judge and Public Prosecutor in attendance. The judge did not allow the lawyer that Richard de Wit wants to appoint, Mr. Baba Musharraf, to file power of attorney because of the content of the Indian psychiatrist’s report which was in his possession – details below.

Mr. Bart Stapert, a Dutch human rights lawyer who had travelled to Srinagar in an attempt to find a way through the impasse that has existed in this case since the end of last year, was present and garnered important information. It appears that the anticipated report by an Indian psychiatrist referred to above, the contents of which were scheduled to be disclosed at today’s hearing, concluded that Richard de Wit is unfit to stand trial. This tallies with the findings made two weeks ago by a Dutch psychiatrist and a Dutch psychologist who examined Mr de Wit during Mr Stapert’s previous visit.

The report recommends that Richard de Wit should be transferred to a clinic in Delhi for treatment. The judge is going to establish whether the Dutch government will bear the costs of this. By all accounts this is a possibility but the quid pro quo would be a request from the Dutch authorities for Richard de Wit to be re-patriated back to the Netherlands and for the case to be transferred back there as well.

Mr Stapert met with the prosecutor separately but because he has had no active role to play in the case for such a long period – all of the delays have been caused by deficiencies on the part of the defence not on the part for the prosecution – he passed no comment at today’s meeting. All parties will meet with the judge this coming Tuesday, April 19th to establish how to proceed. Judge Ali Rashid Dar will then make the formal decision, but the outcome appears to be clear insofar as Richard de Wit is not able to continue to stand trial at this time. The consequences of this are not known and efforts are being made to become aware of all options although, as stated on a number of occasions, proceedings are moving into uncharted territory.

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