MEMBERS of the Sikh community in the North-East have shown their support for a campaign to free a man facing the death penalty in India.

Professor Davinderpal Singh Bhullar is facing death after he was denied asylum by Germany and sent back to India where he had been found guilty of conspiracy and being a political dissident.

But the guilty verdict was given by a split decision. The lead judge said he thought the evidence was unsound and Prof Bhuller should be found not guilty.

Campaigners trying to secure his freedom say the verdict was based on a false confession, made under threat of torture.

The campaigners held two demonstrations in London yesterday, outside the German Embassy and the Foreign Commonwealth Office, calling for international pressure to help free him.

To tie-in with the national protests, four members of the British Sikh group in the North-East presented a letter to Darlington MP and Health Minister Alan Milburn's office, which they hope will be forwarded to Secretary of State Jack Straw.

The letter asks Mr Straw to use his influence to help save Prof Bhuller's life.

Parminder Singh, of Akal Federation in Darlington, said: "We wanted to make sure that the British Government, the international community and the German government knew that Sikhs in the North-East were also backing this campaign.

" This is an injustice and we are fighting to overturn it."