17 Indians on death row
may walk free soon

SHARJAH — Seventeen Indian expatriates, who were sentenced to death for killing a Pakistani man over a bootlegging turf war in 2009, are expected to walk free soon after an appeals court waived their capital punishment on Monday.

By Sajila Saseendran And?afkar Abdullah

Published: Wed 14 Sep 2011, 12:19 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 10:54 AM

The Sharjah Court of Appeals reduced their jail terms to two years followed by deportation after blood money of Dh3.4 million (80 million Pakistani Rupees) was paid to the victim’s family by an Indian hotelier SP Singh Oberoi. The verdict is open to appeal in the Supreme Court within 30 days.

The convicts, 16 from Punjab and one from the neighbouring state of Haryana, were found guilty by the Sharjah Court of First Instance of killing Misri Nazir Khan and injuring three of his compatriots over an illegal alcohol business in Sharjah’s Al Sajja Industrial Area in January 2009.

Khan’s family accepted the blood money in July after the appeals court suggested that both sides consider a mutually agreeable understanding for an early resolution of the case.

Following the settlement, presiding judge Abdullah Yousuf Al Shamsi announced the suspended sentence on Monday.

Advocate Bindu S Chettur, a member of the legal firm hired by the Indian government through the Indian Consulate in Dubai to argue the case in the appeals court, said the court took a lenient view in suspending their sentence.

“They will be released from jail after the official formalities are over and arrangements for their deportation are done,” Chettur added.

Mohammed Salman, who headed the defence team, said the men had spent 27 months in jail. He said the case was a first-of-its-kind in the UAE and turn to page 3

expected that there would not be any further appeal against the verdict since the judge and the prosecutor had given their consent for a settlement.

Consul General of India in Dubai Sanjay Verma said the Government of India respected the local judicial process.

“Safeguarding the interest of the 17 accused has remained our principal and abiding concern. From early 2010, the Consulate has closely pursued the interest of the accused. After about 18 months, and in its seventeenth hearing, the case has seen a closure,” he said.

He clarified the Consulate’s supervisory role in the case and the Indian taxpayers’ money was not used for blood money. Verma said the Consulate was processing their travel documents and would arrange air tickets for deporting the men once the legal formalities of the local government are over.

He appreciated the Sharjah jail authorities for extending their complete cooperation during the process and thanked the lawyers, Oberoi and Hari of the Indian Association, Sharjah, for their assistance.

Oberoi, who is also the chairman of the community organisation Sarbat Dah Bhala, said the organisation had formed a team of 50 to spread awareness about local laws and dangers of bootlegging in labour accommodations in Dubai and Sharjah.

He said the families of the 17 men were celebrating the happy news back home. A brother of only one of the accused was present in the court. — news@khaleejtimes.com

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