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UN court orders Pakistan not to execute Indian naval officer

The International Court of Justice at The Hague has ordered Pakistan not to execute an Indian naval officer convicted of espionage and terrorism.

The UN court said Pakistan should not carry out the death penalty on Kulbhushan Jadhav pending the outcome of a case filed by India alleging that Pakistan breached his right to consular assistance following his arrest last year.

Court president Ronny Abraham said the court unanimously ordered Pakistan to "take all measures at its disposal to ensure that Mr Jadhav is not executed".

Pakistan and India have a history of bitter relations, and Jadhav's death sentence has further strained ties.

India called Jadhav's trial a "serious miscarriage of justice" because he was not allowed to see Indian diplomats or choose his own defence lawyer.

Indian lawyers argued that those restrictions amounted to a breach of the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.

Pakistan argued that Jadhav's rights were not breached and that the court did not need to issue an urgent order to stay his execution because it was not imminent.

A lawyer for Pakistan added that a bilateral agreement allows either country to decide on consular access in cases involving "political or security" issues.

Pakistani representative Mohammad Faisal showed judges a copy of an Indian passport he said Jadhav was carrying at the time of his detention, which bore the name Hussein Mubarak Patel, calling it an "obvious indication of covert and illegal activity".

He said Jadhav "has confessed to having been sent by India to wage terror on the innocent civilians and infrastructure of Pakistan".

The case will take months or years to settle at the United Nations' highest judicial body, so judges issued the order to ensure Jadhav is not executed before the case ends.

Rulings by the court are final and binding on the countries involved.

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