A court in Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, on Friday dismissed a plea by 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts convict Abu Salem, who had claimed that the Indian government had violated the conditions of his extradition, PTI reported. Salem was extradited from Portugal in November 2005, and is lodged in a Mumbai prison.
Lisbon Administrative Court 5 Organic Unit said it lacks jurisdiction in the matter, as the subject is political and diplomatic in nature. The court observed that Salem’s acts are not administrative in nature, but political and diplomatic, falling under the realm of international law.
In September 2017, a special court under the now-repealed Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act in Mumbai sentenced him to life in prison for his role in the blasts that killed more than 250 people. He is also serving a life sentence for his alleged role in the murder of a Mumbai builder in 1995.
In January 2018, a team of Portuguese officials visited Salem, after he alleged that his extradition order and human rights were being violated in prison. Salem complained to the Portuguese officials about several things. “I have been kept in isolation,” he reportedly told them. “There is no one to talk to or interact all day... It is like mental harassment, to just keep looking at the walls. Just because of security reasons should I be kept like this in isolation?”
The gangster reportedly also complained about the quality and quantity of food, and the condition of the toilets and bathrooms in the prison. The same year, the Supreme Court of India rejected Salem’s Special Leave Petition that alleged that his extradition orders were being violated. The court said there had been no such violation.
Salem appealed in the matter to a court in Portugal. The Constitutional Court observed that it is a matter to be dealt at political and diplomatic level between two sovereign countries. The gangster, after another failed plea in the Supreme Court, appealed to the Lisbon Administrative Court. He argued that while India extradited him in the Mumbai blasts case, he was tried on other charges, which violates a legal doctrine called the Principle of Specialty.
India had assured Portugal that no charges entailing death penalty or imprisonment of more than 25 years would be pressed against Salem. However, later on, such charges were filed, Salem’s lawyer alleged.