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Controversial 1,710 Indians in UAE Jails: Gov't Has No Record of Individual Cases

Discussion in 'Hard Talk' started by spnadmin, Jan 5, 2011.

  1. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    1,710 Indians in UAE jails; govt has no record of individual cases
    Raghav Ohri

    As many as 1,710 Indian prisoners are languishing in jails of United Arab Emirates (UAE). Awaiting deportation, some of them are facing trials while some stand convicted. This information has been furnished by the Central government in response to an ongoing public interest litigation (PIL) seeking directions to the Indian Consulate to look after the interests of Indian prisoners suffering abroad. Lawyers for Human Rights International (LFHRI), an NGO, through its Chairman Advocate Navkiran Singh, is the petitioner in the case pending before Punjab and Haryana High Court. Navkiran had also demanded legal aid for the 17 Sikhs who have been awarded death penalty for murdering a youth in Sharjah.

    To know the status of Indian prisoners abroad who are behind bars, Navkiran had demanded information under the Right to Information (RTI) Act. While the consolidated number of Indian prisoners has been submitted by the Central government, surprisingly their individual case records have not been made available. Details of only Indian prisoners in Dubai have been submitted.

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    Consider this: “Individual case records of Indian National in UAE jails are not being maintained” reads the reply of the Indian Embassy. Blaming the government of UAE for not “maintaining” the record, the Indian Embassy has submitted that “currently, details of Indians in detention by local police or in UAE jails is not being provided by the local authorities. This has been taken up with the UAE government”.

    The break-up of Indian prisoners in UAE jails is as follows: Abu Dhabi - 306; Dubai - 766; Sharjah - 359; Ajman - 109; Ras al Khaimah - 63; Fujairah - 46; Umm Al Quwain - 18; Al Ain - 43.

    Vindicating the plea taken by Navkiran Singh in his petition before the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the Central government’s reply reads, “In the normal course, the Government of India does not extend legal assistance to Indian prisoners in foreign jails. Whenever, the Embassy/ Consulate is informed about any specific problem faced by an Indian inmate, the same is taken up with the concerned authorities”.

    The reply further reads that “Individual case records of Indian National in the UAE Jails are not being maintained. As per consular responsibilities, officials of the Embassy and Consulate periodically visit the jails in the UAE to ascertain the welfare of the Indian prisoner, Indian prisoners are free to approach Indian officials during such visits. Whenever, the Embassy/ Consulate is informed about any specific problem faced by an Indian inmate, the same is taken up with the concerned authorities. In the normal course, the Government of India does not extend legal assistance to Indian prisoners in foreign jails. The Consulate in Dubai, however, offers legal consultations from its premises on weekly basis to Indian Nationals”.

    Filing a reply on behalf of the Ministry of External Affairs, Vitul Kumar, Regional Passport Officer, Chandigarh has demanded dismissal of the public interest litigation (PIL). Navkiran, in his petition, had alleged that Indian prisoners, including the 17 awarded death penalty, have been subjected to torture. Denying the accusations, the reply reads that, “no Indian prisoner in Sharjah jail has on visits of Indian Consulate alleged torture inside the prison”.

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