A group of Punjab-based lawyers Tuesday condemned the offers made by different organisations to pay blood money to save the lives of 17 Indians who are on death row in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in a murder case.
“We vehemently opposed the offerings of blood money in this case. We all know that the Indian youths are innocent and our case is very strong. We are sure that the court will certainly acquit them but such kind of announcements can weaken the case,” said Navkiran Singh, representative of NGO Lawyers For Human Rights International (LFHRI).
Singh recently returned from the UAE after attending the last court hearing there June 16.
“The facts that the Indians were not arrested from the crime spot and none of the three eye-witnesses have identified them have clearly indicated they will be freed soon. Now people are trying to gain undue advantage and publicity by making such announcements,” he added.
The 17 Indians, 16 from Punjab and one from Haryana, were sentenced to death by a court in Sharjah in March. They were convicted of murdering a Pakistani man and injuring three others in January 2009, following a fight over an illegal liquor business.
The murder took place in Al Sajaa area of Sharjah in the UAE. The victim, who was identified as Misri Nazir Khan, died of stab wounds and also suffered brain damage, police said.
The next date of hearing is July 14.
A UAE-based Punjabi Society and Ansar Burney Trust, which is run by Pakistan's former federal minister for human rights Ansar Burney, had offered to pay the blood money to the family of the deceased in Pakistan to save the lives of the 17 Indians.
All the convicts in the UAE are between 17-30 years of age and all of them belong to lower middle-class families.