Hope for Indian men on death row in Sharjah

July 20th, 2011 - 11:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Chandigarh/Dubai, July 20 (IANS) There is hope for the release of 17 Indians, who are on the death row in Sharjah for the murder of a Pakistani national, after the victim’s family agreed to “pardon” them after accepting compensation.

The 17 men, 16 from Punjab and one from Haryana, had been sentenced to death by a Shariat court in Sharjah, March 2010. They were convicted of murdering a Pakistani man and injuring three others January 2009, following a fight over illegal liquor business.

The murder took place in Al Sajaa area of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The victim, Misri Nazir Khan, died of stab wounds and also suffered brain damage, police had said.

Dubai-based businessman S.P. Singh Oberoi, founder member of the Indian Punjabi Society (IPS) and president of voluntary group ‘Sarbat Da Bhala’, through a communication released by Punjab Congress president Amarinder Singh, said that the efforts to save the youth had proved successful.

“It is with the greatest sense of pride and hard earned accomplishment that we are today able to communicate to everyone back home in Punjab and India that all 17 of our compatriots who were condemned to the gallows in Sharjah will now finally be freed and return to their loved ones,” the communication said.

Oberoi said that Mishri Khan’s father, mother, widow, daughter and all four brothers, had agreed to a monetary compensation of eight crore Pakistani Rupees. This amount includes Dihrams 442,000 as ‘blood money’ and the balance as ‘compensation’ for the family.

He said the breakthrough in the case was achieved through the efforts of Amarinder Singh and other Indian community members based in UAE. Amarinder Singh had met the 17 Indian men in a Sharjah prison last year and assured help. He later met the Shiekh of Abu Dhabi and the police chief of Sharjah.

“The late Mishri Khan’s brother, Sarfaraz Ahmed Khan accepted the ‘token’ amount of one million Pakistani Rupees and gave a written legal undertaking that he and his family will submit an official letter legally pardoning the accused on receipt of the full monetary compensation,” the communication said.

“The ‘undertaking’ was submitted during today’s (Wednesday) court hearing at Sharjah, duly acknowledged by Mohammad Ramzan, the official ‘negotiator’ for Mishri Khan’s family.

“Accepting the arrangement, the court has granted us a week to finalise all paperwork and deposit the balance blood money and compensation on Wednesday, July 27. Following that, the honourable judges are expected to announce an early judgment date to ‘pardon’ all the 17 accused men,” Oberoi said.

The Indian men had all along maintained that they were not involved in the murder of the Pakistani national and that they had been framed in this case.

Certain NGOs and the jailed youth had even opposed earlier attempts to pay blood money to the victim’s family saying that this would mean admission to the guilt of murder which they had not committed.

All the convicted men in UAE are between 17 and 30 years of age and all of them belong to lower middle-class families in India. The Indian consulate had hired a law firm in UAE to defend the case.

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