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ICJ Asks Pakistan to Stay Execution of an Indian Convicted of Spying

FILE - Journalists look a image of Indian naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav, who was arrested in March 2016, during a press conference by Pakistan's army spokesman and the Information Minister, in Islamabad, Pakistan, March 29, 2016.

India has welcomed the International Court of Justice’s order to Pakistan to stay the death sentence handed down to an Indian man by a Pakistani military court that had found him guilty of spying.

India had approached the ICJ on Monday asking it to declare Pakistan's sentencing of Jadhav as “illegal.”

Pakistan says Kulbhushan Jadhav was an Indian naval officer who was involved in espionage for India’s intelligence agency, the Research and Intelligence Wing and that he had been arrested last year in a counter intelligence operation. It sentenced him to death last month.

India responded angrily saying Jadhav was kidnapped while doing business in Iran and said he had been convicted on “concocted” charges.

New Delhi says it has been denied consular access to him, despite repeated requests and in contravention of legal obligations.

Indian foreign ministry said Wednesday it sought the ICJ’s intervention because an Indian man's life was under threat.

"In this situation where the life of an Indian who was kidnapped and is illegally in detention in Pakistan and who was not given a fair trial and about whose well being our concerns persist, what we have done is approach the ICJ,” foreign ministry spokesman Gopal Bagley told reporters in New Delhi.

India says Jadhav’s sentencing is in "brazen defiance" of the Vienna Convention and warned executing him would be an act of "premeditated murder."

The case between the arch rivals is likely to be heard next week at the Hague. The issue has frayed the already tense ties between the two countries.