India gets access to 17 death row convicts in UAE

Indian officials in Dubai have got access to 17 Indians, who have been sentenced to death in UAE.

Zeenews Bureau

Dubai/New Delhi: Indian consulate officials in Dubai late on Tuesday got access to the 17 Indians, who have been sentenced to death by a Sharjah court for killing a Pakistani national.

As of now, the government is awaiting a detailed report from its consulate in Dubai on the developments involving these Indians, majority of whom hail from Punjab.

However, the government has promised full legal assistance to 17 Indians convicted by the Sharjah court

The conviction of Indians was taken seriously in the country and the development was described as "shocking" and unfortunate.

All 17 Indians were sentenced to death by Sharjah`s Shariah court for killing a Pakistani national and injuring three others in an alleged fight over control of illegal alcohol business.
The Shariah court sentenced them to death after all evidence, including DNA tests, showed that they had knifed the Pakistani to death in January last year during a fight over the control of illegal liquor business in Al Sajaa area of Sharjah, one of UAE`s emirates.

This development was confirmed by India`s Consul-General in Dubai Sanjay Verma who said, “We have been granted consular access to all Indians. They appear in good health. We are awaiting the detailed judgment and will explore legal options available thereafter."

Earlier on Tuesday, Union External Affairs Minister SM Krishna said, "We will also try to find out in what other ways we can help them out to file an appeal in higher court."

Reacting on the issue, Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi said, "We will do that, I can assure you that. The death sentence to 17 people at a time is rather shocking. So, we have decided to give maximum possible help to them."

Asked about the details, Ravi said "I am still awaiting a detailed report from our mission but I have been told that majority of them belong to Punjab."

The Indian officials have so far not procured any written judgement regarding the conviction of all Indians by the Sharjah’s Sharia court hence they are trying to obtain a copy of the court’s order.
According to the United Arab Emirates` laws, the convicted workers can move in appeal within 15 days of the verdict, a court official said. A Justice Ministry source was quoted by the English daily as saying, "(This is) a preliminary sentence and, by force of law, is subject to other forms of litigation."

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.