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Abduction in India

Posted: November 4, 2021 in India
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Anniversary of Jagtar Singh Johal’s abduction

Jagtar Singh Johal was abducted in plain sight by Indian police officers on November 4, 2017 – four years ago, today. It was the middle of the day and he was walking with his new wife. He travelled to India from his family home in Scotland to marry her. But three weeks into their marriage, they were pulled apart.  Together, Reprieve are exposing Jagtar’s story to the world and calling on the UK Government to get Jagtar back home before it’s too late.

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Today marks the four-year anniversary of Jagtar’s abduction and arbitrary detention in India – and exposes another year of delays by the UK Government. They should be doing everything they can to get him – a citizen – back home to Scotland.

Jagtar is now 34 years old.  Up until four years ago, he worked in his father’s restaurant in Dumbarton and cheered on Arsenal FC. But his life changed the day he was abducted. His government should have intervened and brought him home to safety a long time ago. But instead, he has spent his 30s in an overcrowded Indian prison, far from his family in Scotland.

This post is courtesy of Reprieve and if you have time to share the links above – which only take a moment – we would be grateful.


Action to take on 10 October

While in India for his wedding in November 2017, Jagtar Singh Johal, a British Sikh (pictured), was arrested and accused of involvement in terrorism and in the assassination of a number of Hindu leaders in the Punjab.  He is alleged to have faced torture and been forced to sign blank statements and record a video.  This ‘confession’ was broadcast on national television, where the political nature of his ‘crimes’ was stressed.  He has had no actual trial but faces the death penalty. 

Mr Johal’s brother, Gurpreet, who lives in Scotland, says his brother was a peaceful activist and believes he was arrested because he had written about historical human rights violations against Sikhs in India.  He has appealed to the British Government to seek his brother’s release and to bring him home.

Picture: BBC

In February of this year, almost 140 MPs wrote to the then Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, asking him to

seek Mr Johal’s release, and a debate was held in Parliament with calls for him to be declared a ‘victim of arbitrary detention.  In June, Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland, wrote to Mr Raab, urging him to seek Mr Johal’s release.  Gurpreet Singh Johal is grateful for her support, but believes direct intervention from the British Government is essential.

Mr Johal is supported by the organisations Reprieve and Redress.  He has made numerous court appearances, but his trial has been repeatedly delayed at the request of the prosecution and basic information denied to his defence counsel.

Mr Raab said he was  doing all he could and had been in touch with the Indian authorities, but his response was criticised as ‘weak’.  With the appointment of the new Foreign Secretary – Liz Truss – there is an opportunity to bring Mr Johal’s situation to her attention, and to call for a more positive and pro-active response.

Action

Please write to:

Ms Elizabeth Truss

Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs of the

                                                                                                                        United Kingdom

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office

King Charles Street

London SW1A 0AA                           Email: fcdo.correspondence@fcdo.gov.uk

and ask her to intervene in Mr Johal’s case, and to secure his release and return home.

Please date your letter 10th October 2021, calling attention to the fact that it is the 19th World Day against the Death Penalty.