India Seeks Consular Access to 17 Indians on Death Row in UAE

In the wake of capital punishment being awarded to 17 Indians for killing a Pakistani, India has sought consular access to the convicts, said media reports.

Never before have so many people been sentenced to death in one instance in the UAE. They were awarded death sentence by a Sharia court in Sharjah for killing a Pakistani man and injuring two others in a fatal attack last year in a fight over control of illegal alcohol business.

“The Consulate is seeking more details, including a copy of the judgement on the 17 Indians reportedly sentenced to death,” the mission said in a statement in Dubai.

An Emirates News Agency WAM report said quoting an unnamed official source at Ministry of Justice that the capital punishment awarded to Indians, all aged between 17 and 30, could be appealed against, said reports.

During the fight in the Al Sajaa area of Sharjah last January, victim had suffered severe head injuries and stab wounds.

The procedures followed in the UAE lay down that the primary ruling needs to be presented to the court of appeal for ratification.

The ministry of justice appoints lawyers for those who are unable to do so, especially in homicide cases that entail life and capital sentence.

According to a court official, the convicted workers can file an appeal within 15 days of the ruling, said reports.

“(This is) a preliminary sentence and, by force of law, is subject to other forms of litigation,” a Justice Ministry source was quoted by Khaleej Times as saying.

Yesterday in New Delhi, Minister of Indian Overseas Affairs Vayalar Ravi said: “We have already asked the Indian Consulate for a report and they have been asked to move fast for helping those people to appeal.”

Meanwhile, the Indian Community Welfare Committee in Dubai and Indian Association Sharjah have said they would step up anti-alcohol awareness campaigns in labour camps, following recent bootlegging violence.

It should be noted that Islam, the main religion of the local populace of UAE, bans the production, sale and consumption of alcohol, and the fight occurred over control of illegal liquor.

(Based on internet reports)

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