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Death penalty to two Indians in Maldives worries panel

The Tamil Nadu Human Rights Commission has sent a notice to the Maldives' rights watchdog over the reported death penalties to two workers from India. Reports in regional papers in Tamil Nadu have, in the last few months, highlighted the plight of people who go to work in the Maldives.

india Updated: Jan 06, 2004 22:17 IST

The Tamil Nadu Human Rights Commission (TNHRC) has sent a notice to the Maldives' rights watchdog over the reported death penalties to two workers from India.

The TNHRC was acting on a complaint filed by a Dindigul-based NGO, the Peace Trust, which said the two men must be given proper legal aid. Reports in regional papers in Tamil Nadu have, in the last few months, highlighted the plight of people who go to work in the Maldives.

The reports said that Rajan from Kanyakumari, Kamal from Thanjavur and a third man, Saravanan from Tiruchi -- all Indian workers in their late 20s employed with a construction company -- were arrested on charges of murder after a young woman's body was found near the place where they were staying.

The men were arrested by Male Police and Saravanan was tortured to death while in custody, the reports said. Death sentences have been awarded to the other two, and they fear for their lives, the reports said.

Following the reports, Tamil Nadu has asked the Indian High Commission in Male to intervene and provide legal aid to the Indian workers.

Now the rights body has issued a notice, returnable by January 30, to the Maldives rights commission and to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva.

The TNHRC has sought legal aid and translators for the two detained men. Rajan had managed to smuggle out a letter to his family in Tamil Nadu, seeking help, which brought the case to light, the reports said.

First Published: Jan 03, 2004 00:00 IST