Seeking justice, 17 Indian youth on the death row in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have alleged before human rights activists from India that they have been framed in the murder case of a Pakistani national after being tortured.
Representatives of a Punjab-based NGO, Lawyers For Human Rights International (LFHRI) who recently returned after meeting the 17 Indians sentenced to death in Sharjah, Tuesday alleged here that the youth were tortured and were not being given proper legal aid.
A two-member team of LFHRI had visited Dubai and Sharjah April 13-14 and met the prisoners and also held a meeting with lawyers who are fighting their case.
"We had a two-hour meeting with 17 Indians and we came across a very sorry state of affairs. The apathy of prisoners revealed a total miscarriage of justice," alleged LFHRI general secretary Navkiran Singh while talking to reporters here.
The 17 Indians, aged between 17 and 30 years, were sentenced to death by a court in Sharjah for killing a Pakistani man and injuring three others in January 2009 following a fight over illegal liquor business.
The murder took place in Al Sajaa area of Sharjah in the UAE. The victim died of stab wounds and also suffered brain damage, police said.
Contesting the CCTV footage that Sharjah police had produced in court, Singh claimed: "After 30 days of the crime, they were taken to the spot and were forced to dramatise the beating up of a policeman as if it was the actual crime scene and the whole scene was videographed. Later, they showed it in the court as CCTV footage."
"They were also made to sign on documents which were written in Arabic language and none of them could read, write, speak or understand Arabic," he alleged.
Singh said besides these 17 prisoners, there are at least 33 Punjabis languishing in the jail but officials of the Indian consulate have rarely visited any of them.
However, after the visit of LFHRI members to Sharjah, the kin of the Indian prisoners now see a ray of hope.
"My son had gone there around two years ago in search of a better job. We had given Rs.70,000 to the agent to send him abroad. Our life is ruined and we are really unfortunate that we cannot reach there to help our children," Pyare Lal, father of 25-year-old Subhan, told IANS.
He added: "Now after the intervention of LFHRI we are quite hopeful that our son will return home one day. We only want our children back home."
Paramjit Singh, whose brother Taranjit Singh is facing the gallows, told IANS: "Earlier, we had lost all hope as we had not got any call from Taranjit for many months. But now, after their (LFHRI) intervention, we are getting a call from him every Sunday."
"From here, we urge our prime minister to expedite the rescue work and trial proceedings in Sharjah. They all are innocent and are falsely implicated by some anti-social elements there," Paramjit, a native of Jagdishpura village in Haryana's Kaithal district, said.