US Urges Fair Legal Process for Arrested Indian Opposition Leader

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US Urges Fair Legal Process for Arrested Indian Opposition Leader

| Updated: March 26, 2024 16:24

The United States is closely monitoring the arrest of Arvind Kejriwal, a prominent Indian opposition figure and Chief Minister of Delhi, urging a fair and transparent legal process. The arrest, made by India’s financial crime-fighting agency on corruption charges, comes a month before the national elections and has been vehemently denied by Kejriwal’s political party.

The U.S. State Department spokesperson, in response to an emailed query about the case, stated, “We encourage a fair, transparent and timely legal process for Chief Minister Kejriwal.” This statement was made following a protest from India over Germany’s reaction to the arrest.

Sebastian Fischer, spokesperson for Germany’s foreign office, had earlier stated at a government press conference that Kejriwal, like anyone else facing accusations, was entitled to a fair and impartial trial. He added, “We assume and expect that the standards relating to independence of judiciary and basic democratic principles will also be applied in this case.”

India’s foreign ministry summoned Georg Enzweiler, the German embassy’s deputy chief of mission, to convey India’s strong protest against these remarks. In a statement, the ministry said, “We see such remarks as interfering in our judicial process and undermining the independence of our judiciary. Biased assumptions made on this account are most unwarranted.”

When asked about India’s protest to Germany, the State Department spokesperson referred to the German Foreign Ministry for comment on their discussions with the Indian government.

The U.S. views India as a significant strategic and economic partner in its efforts to counter China’s growing global influence. However, rights advocates have criticized the Biden administration for prioritizing strategic considerations over human rights issues in its dealings with India.

India’s government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party have denied any political interference in the case involving Kejriwal and other leaders of his Aam Aadmi Party. The Indian embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the State Department’s reaction.

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