Starmer urges PM to request India launch UK citizen Jagtar Singh Johal | India

Keir Starmer has requested Boris Johnson to intervene and request that the Indian authorities launch a British citizen after a UN working group declared his five-year detention arbitrary and with none authorized foundation.

In a letter, the Labour chief asks why Johnson has not acted to ask for the launch of Jagtar Singh Johal given the findings of the UN report on arbitrary detention final month.

Johnson prides himself on his sturdy relations with the Indian authorities led by Narendra Modi, however he has not used his affect to make a public name for launch.

Starmer writes: “Jagtar was arrested in 2017 after travelling to India for his wedding where he was tortured by police officers into making a so-called ‘confession’ to charges carrying the death penalty.”

Referencing the UN working group on arbitrary detention’s conclusion that Jagtar “was targeted because of his activities as a Sikh practitioner and supporter and because of his activism”, he factors out that the UN believes there is no such thing as a authorized foundation for his continued detention.

The UN’s skilled panel referred to as for Johal’s launch, discovering that there was no authorized foundation for Johal’s continued detention, and he had been tortured and denied the proper to a good trial.

Starmer asks in his letter, on behalf of Johal’s household, why the federal government has not made the identical request and when it is going to achieve this.

Starmer, a former director of public prosecutions, is probably the most high-profile politician to take up the case, and his intervention suggests the UK won’t be able to maintain the difficulty confined to behind-the-scenes diplomacy indefinitely. Johal’s household, based mostly in Dumbarton, have acquired help from the Scottish first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, and the marketing campaign organisation Reprieve.

Starmer in his letter additionally requires a cross-party strategy to safe his launch, saying: “In past cases of British nationals detained abroad it has been crucial to work cross-party, not only to exert maximum pressure but also ensure a coordinated approach. So, in that spirit, I want to offer Labour’s support in securing Jagtar’s release and hope you can address the questions Jagtar’s family desperately want to be answered.”

The Indian authorities has mentioned Johal’s detention was based mostly on “sufficient prosecutable evidence” and that Johal’s rights have been “duly honoured”.

He was arrested on 4 November 2017 in Jalandhar by the Punjab police for his alleged function in eight focused killings carried out between April 2016 and October 2017 by the Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF), a banned terrorist organisation.

He is but to face trial in any case he stands accused in, and is being held at Delhi’s Tihar jail. He and his household strongly deny the allegations. Efforts to safe his launch on bail have failed.

The report by the UN group mentioned: “Johal is a follower of the Sikh faith. He is an online activist and contributed to a magazine and website documenting the persecution of the Sikh religious minority in India … On 4 November 2017, after his wedding in Jalandhar, Punjab, Johal was abducted by 15 unidentified men in Rama Mandi, Jalandhar. The men did not identify themselves as law enforcement officers.” The UN claims he was subsequently tortured.

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Dan Dolan’s, Reprieve’s director of advocacy, mentioned: “Jagtar was abducted on Boris Johnson’s watch at the Foreign Office. So he has known about this case for almost five years. He’s not the only UK foreign secretary to fail Jagtar, but as prime minister he could be the one to bring him home.”

Johal’s brother, Gurpreet Singh Johal, mentioned: “My brother is still in prison because of UK government inaction. We need him back here in Dumbarton with his family. This letter ups the pressure on Boris Johnson to do what’s right and seek Jagtar’s immediate release.”

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