The Indian consulate will appeal to the Sharjah High Court in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Thursday to seek relief for 17 Indians sentenced to death by a trial court for murdering a Pakistani national.
Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) Secretary A Didar Singh met Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal in New Delhi on Wednesday and apprised him of the measures being taken by the Indian government to help the 17 youths on death row in the UAE.
Singh told Badal that it was for the first time that the Indian government has formally approved legal aid for Indians involved in an offence in another country.
"A formal sanction has been conveyed by the government to the Indian consulate in the UAE for filing an appeal in the Sharjah High Court," the MOIA secretary told Badal.
He added that lawyer Mohammad Salman has been engaged to represent the 17 Indian men, of whom 16 are from Punjab, at the high court.
A spokesman for Badal said: "Senior consulate officials have visited these people in the Sharjah central prison and all were found in good health."
If needed, after a decision of the Sharjah High Court a second appeal can be filed in the Supreme Court in Abu Dhabi. If needed, thereafter, a mercy petition can also be filed before the president of Abu Dhabi, he said.
Badal met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday in New Delhi and sought immediate legal aid to the 17 Indian youths. Families of the youths have been seeking help from the government, Muslim and Sikh religious leaders and organisations to save the convicted young men from the gallows.