Indian extradited to US over foiled assassination of Sikh movement leader

SPOTLIGHTS

  • Gupta was extradited from the Czech Republic and charged in the US
  • The plot targeted a US-based Sikh separatist leader
  • US officials allege the plot was directed by an Indian government employee
  • The US emphasizes its commitment to protecting free speech and the safety of its citizens

By John Ogunsemore

The United States’ Department of Justice (DoJ) has confirmed the extradition of an Indian national, Nikhil Gupta, over a foiled murder attempt on an unnamed US-based leader of a Sikh separatist movement on American soil.

In a statement published on its website on Monday, June 17, the DoJ said Gupta, 53, was extradited to the United States from the Czech Republic to face murder-for-hire charges.

US Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said, “This murder-for-hire plot — allegedly orchestrated by an Indian government employee to kill a U.S. citizen in New York City — was a brazen attempt to silence a political activist for exercising a quintessential American right: his freedom of speech.”

According to the statement, Gupta, who arrived in the US on June 14, was charged on Monday following his arrest and detention in Czech Republic on June 30, 2023, and extradition pursuant to the bilateral extradition treaty between the United States and the European nation.

Read also: Man charged in attempted assassination of Slovakia leader

US Attorney General, Merrick B. Garland said, “This extradition makes clear that the Justice Department will not tolerate attempts to silence or harm American citizens.

“Nikhil Gupta will now face justice in an American courtroom for his involvement in an alleged plot, directed by an employee of the Indian government, to target and assassinate a U.S. citizen for his support of the Sikh separatist movement in India.

“I am grateful to the Department’s agents who foiled this assassination plot and to our Czech partners for their assistance in this arrest and extradition.”

Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said, “This murder-for-hire plot — allegedly orchestrated by an Indian government employee to kill a U.S. citizen in New York City — was a brazen attempt to silence a political activist for exercising a quintessential American right: his freedom of speech.

“The extradition of the defendant is a vital step toward justice, and I am grateful to our Czech partners for their assistance in this matter.

“We will continue working relentlessly to identify, disrupt, and hold accountable those who seek to harm American citizens here or abroad.”

Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Christopher Wray said, “This defendant has been extradited for his alleged role in a plot to assassinate a U.S. citizen on American soil.

“The FBI will not tolerate attempts by foreign nationals, or anyone else for that matter, to repress constitutionally protected freedoms in the United States. We will continue to work with our partners at home and abroad to protect our citizens and these sacred rights.”

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