Indian to be extradited to Oman for murder trial of Omani family

On July 31, 2019, an Omani national along with his wife and three minor children were found dead at their home

By PTI

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Published: Sun 26 Nov 2023, 8:31 PM

Last updated: Sun 26 Nov 2023, 9:21 PM

The Delhi High Court Friday upheld the extradition of a man from Uttar Pradesh to Oman to face criminal trial on charges of murder there.

On July 31, 2019, an Omani national as well as his wife and three minor children were found dead at his home where the petitioner was engaged for whitewashing.

The petitioner, who was working as a labourer in Bidiyah in Oman, is accused of committing "premeditated murder felony" which is punishable under Article 302-A of the Penal Code of Oman.

Justice Amit Bansal dismissed the petition by Majibullah M Haneef challenging the decision of the Centre to extradite him upon a request from the authorities in Oman after an inquiry was undertaken by a trial court here.

The petitioner contended that he was wrongly implicated in the present case. He said the deceased had given his ATM card along with the pin to withdraw money but when he came back, the family members were dead.

He also claimed that he touched the body of the victims to see if they were alive or not and hence his fingerprints and DNA were found on the bodies.

The judge noted that India has an extradition treaty with the Sultanate of Oman, which states that persons accused of an offence punishable under the laws of both the countries with imprisonment for not less than one year or for more severe punishment shall be extradited.

Justice Bansal rejected the petitioner's apprehension that he would not get a fair trial in Oman as it was governed by Sharia and the offence of murder was only punishable with death penalty there.

The court observed that Oman has assured the Indian government that the petitioner would have a fair and just trial and he would be provided with a lawyer to defend himself and an interpreter would also be provided to him during the investigation as well as the trial.

It added that legal provisions existed in Oman with regard to death penalty and its commutation and pardon.

"The present petition, along with pending applications, is dismissed and the impugned order passed by the learned ACMM is upheld. Consequently, the decision of the Union of India to extradite the petitioner to the Sultanate of Oman is upheld," the court said.

Besides the petitioner, three others are also accused of murder in the matter and are stated to have absconded to India as "fugitive criminals".

The court observed that the standard of proof in an inquiry in an extradition case was not of the same level as that required in a trial in which the guilt of an accused has to be established.

In the present case, it said, sufficient material was placed by Oman to make out a prima facie case in support of extradition and it could not be said that the request for conducting the inquiry by the Centre was passed mechanically without applying its mind.

The court also observed that there was nothing to suggest that the offence for which the petitioner is charged i.e. murder, was in the nature of a political offence.

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