17 Indians on death row: UAE court adjourns hearing
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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.


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

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