VIDEO – Pakistan violates international law on treatment of POW’s: brutalizes, beats, humiliates downed pilot


ISLAMABAD – Indian Wing Commander Abhinandan, the pilot of an Indian attack plane that was shot down by Pakistani anti-air forces, was clearly not injured from the crash when captured by Pakistan authorities. As is evidenced in this harrowing video clip, he was brutally beaten, mistreated and almost lynched by a crowd, the Pakistani authorities appear to only light-handedly attempt to stop what was happening to the pilot.

While India’s actions are rife with potential legal problems, it is nevertheless understood that the primary role of the military is to follow orders when issued. There are exceptions when a soldier may refuse out of conscience, when an order is clearly illegal. However, given that India was involved in anti-terrorist activities, and targeted not Pakistani forces, but a terrorist group which had previously attacked India, such possibility of a refusal out of conscience may not have been at all in play.

UPDATE:  Abhinandan has made a public statement, that the Pakistani military authorities have treated him reasonably.

“I wish to put this on record and I will not change my statement if I go to my country that officers of the Pakistani army have looked after me very well and they are thorough gentlemen…I am very impressed by the Pakistani Army.”

It is quite interesting that he includes ‘I will not change my statement’ back home, that’s certainly a red-flag that this was written for him. 

However, this statement was made while in custody, on camera, for public consumption for Pakistan’s public and for propaganda purposes (in the neutral sense) in general. 

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What is clear, however, is that the detainment process, including the beating and near lynching of the downed pilot, does not conform to the norms on treatment of POW’s. This is enshrined in the UN.

“Article 3

In the case of armed conflict not of an international character occurring in the territory of one of the High Contracting Parties, each party to the conflict shall be bound to apply, as a minimum, the following provisions:

1. Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria.

To this end the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to the above-mentioned persons:

(a) Violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;

(b Taking of hostages;

(c) Outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment;

(d) The passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.”

Published on: Feb 27, 2019 @ 20:45 – updated Feb 28, 2019 @ 8:55

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