17 Indians on death row: UAE court adjourns hearing

Last Updated: Wednesday, June 16, 2010 - 19:52

Dubai: The case of 17 Indians sentenced
to death for killing a Pakistani man in Sharjah was today
adjourned for a second time by an appeals court due to lack of
a translator fluent in Hindi, Punjabi, Arabic and English.

The Sharjah Court of Appeals has "decided to respond
to the request of those present on behalf of the defendants in
terms of providing them with a translator who understands
their language," the judge said.

The lawyer handling the case on behalf of the Indians,
Bindu Suresh Chettur said, the case of finding the right
translator came up again and the court decided to postpone the
hearing to July 14 for the lack of translators who were
equally fluent with Hindi, Punjabi, Arabic and English.

The 17 defendants, 16 from the Punjab and one from
Haryana, only understand Punjabi. The Indian consulate had
provided a Punjabi-English translator, but the court
proceedings are held in Arabic, so an Arabic-Punjabi
translator is needed.

Earlier, the Sharjah Court of Appeals had adjourned
the case on May 19 on similar grounds. However, Chettur said
the adjournment could have taken place because the main judge
was on leave.

"The main judge who heard the case last time was not
available. That could have been the main reason behind the
adjournment," she said.

She expressed satisfaction with the progress being
made in the case and added: "It is going according to plan.
All the Indians accused were present in the court except one
individual who is ill and is in hospital. Even he could have
been brought in but I am not sure why the police did not do
so."

"How would you get to this stage and call for
executing 17 people without providing them with a translator?"
one of the defendants` lawyers, Abdullah Salman was quoted.

A Sharjah court of First Instance had earlier found 17
Indians, mostly from Punjab, guilty of beating a Pakistani man
to death and wounding three others when a fight involving
dozens of bootleggers broke out in the Saaja industrial area
in January last year.

Amid an outrage in India over the verdict, the
government had asked its consulate in Sharjah to engage a top
lawyer and file an appeal to a higher court.

External Affairs Minister S M Krishna had termed the
death sentence on the Indians as "very unfortunate" and
instructed his ministry to assist them in filing an appeal and
also bear all the expenses involved.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, June 16, 2010 - 19:52

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