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UN Group Says No Legal Evidence Against Scottish Sikh Man Detained in India

He is accused of funding the purchase of weapons used to allegedly kill right-wing political leaders in Punjab.

Published
Indian Diaspora
2 min read
UN Group Says No Legal Evidence Against Scottish Sikh Man Detained in India
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A Scottish Sikh man named Jagtar Singh Johal from Dumbarton, a town in Scotland, who was arrested for alleged terror offences in India five years ago, still hasn't faced his trial yet, reported BBC.

Now, the United Nation's Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has stated that Johal has been detained "arbitrarily" and must be released immediately.

The UN group added that Johan was being "interrogated repeatedly in the absence of legal counsel and in incommunicado detention," and therefore, any confession obtained in such conditions could not be admissible in his trial.
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Johal's Arrest

The Scottish Sikh man was arrested in Punjab in November 2017 when he was celebrating his own wedding.

According to his family members, he was picked up from the street by officers in plain clothes, and a bag was forced over his head. He has been in detention since then.

He is accused of providing funds for the purchase of weapons used to allegedly assassinate right-wing Hindu political leaders in Punjab.

His family categorically denies this.

"We've known from the start that there's no good reason for Jagtar's imprisonment and the Indian authorities haven't produced any evidence against him," Johal's brother told the BBC.

Allegations of Torture

Johal alleges that he was tortured in the early days of his custody by the Punjab Police and that the police officials forced him to sign blank documents.

A month after his arrest, he appeared in a video from custody that was run on Indian TV channels, in which he confessed to allegedly participating in the crimes.

His family and friends assert that his "confession" was coerced and that Johal was been targeted due to his Sikh faith and his online activism.

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Indian Govt's Response

The Indian government has, however, said that Johal's detention was based on "sufficient prosecutable evidence".

It also insisted that his rights had been "duly honoured."

The UN group's report, however, disputes all of that.

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