A friend of some of the 17 Indians convicted to death in the United Arab Emirates for killing a Pakistani citizen in January 2009 said they had been “falsely implicated”.
The friend, Paramjit Singh, told mediapersons here on Thursday that the youths had told him they had returned from their workplace and were asleep at night when the authorities arrested them in the murder case, while the actual killer “managed to escape”.
The Indians, aged 17-30 years, were sentenced to death by a shariah court in Sharjah for stabbing to death a Pakistani man and injuring three others in January 2009 following a fight over an alleged illegal liquor business in Sharjah.
Paramjit, who returned to India six months ago after his contract with a private firm in UAE expired, told Hindustan Times that the Indians were tortured in police custody and made to confess the crime. “Their bodies bore deep and blunt wounds when I met them in jail,” Paramjit, said. “They used to request me to secure their release. I last met them seven months ago.”
He said he was allowed to meet them on six occasions. Though some of them had a lawyer, he virtually proved to be of “no help in the court”, Paramjit said, adding that it would have been a different verdict if they were extended timely legal assistance.
Jasbir Singh, a relative of Ravinder Singh (25), one of the convicted men, slammed the police investigation. “The Dubai police are claiming that Ravinder was arrested from his workplace,” Jasbir said. “This is totally false. He was arrested from the airport while trying to board a flight to India on January 17, 2009.”
The convicted youngsters’ families on Thursday jointly appealed to the Prime Minister to intervene for securing their release. Former union minister and Lok Bhalai Party chief Balwant Singh Ramoowalia said the families and his party would raise the issue with the United Nations Human Rights Commission through the Centre and approach Islamic bodies in India as well.