17 Indians on death row: Court adjourns hearing till May 19



Dubai: A UAE court hearing an appeal filed by 17 Indians sentenced to death for murdering a Pakistani man on Thursday adjourned the case till May 19 and asked the defendants and the victim's kin to reach a settlement by that date on the 'blood money'.

Lawyers and members of Indian community handling the case said they will make all efforts to reach a settlement in the given time.

On March 28 last year, the Sharjah Court of First Instance had pronounced the death sentence on 17 Indian nationals, who were accused of killing Pakistani national Misri Khan in January, 2009.

Since then 12 hearings have been held in this case. "The family of the victim has agreed for a compromise and we will make all efforts possible to find a settlement with Mohammed Ramzan, who has been appointed to negotiate blood money payment on behalf of the victim's family," S P Singh Oberoi, a founder member of Indian Punjabi Society said.

Oberoi has helped settle various such cases in the past and have also paid blood money on behalf of Indians facing death sentence in Dubai.

On December 30 hearing last year, Ramzan said he has the power of attorney and that the victim's family is ready for compromise.

On February 24, the judge gave two months time for compromise. However, the settlement could not be reached during the stipulated time.

According to Oberoi, following today's hearing, the judge ordered that the two sides should settle the Diya (pardon) money as per Sharia Law outside the court in three weeks. The court will reconvene on May 19.

Meanwhile, in a statement today, the Indian consulate in Dubai said the defence lawyers have been working relentlessly to persuade the Sharjah Court of Appeals to review the judgement of the Court of the First Instance.

"We fully respect the local judicial process and are cognisant of all its aspects. The Government of India is doing all it can to safeguard the interests of the accused. Our lawyers will continue to defend the accused," the statement said.

Out of 17 Indians, 16 are from Punjab while one is from Haryana.

PTI