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Yemen Court Dismisses Kerala Nurse Nimisha Priya's Appeal Against Death Penalty

Kerala native Nimisha Priya has been in Yemeni prison since 2017 for the murder of Yemeni national Talal Abdo Mahdi.

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The Supreme Court of Yemen has dismissed the appeal of Indian nurse Nimisha Priya's death sentence, the Central government informed the Delhi High Court on Friday, 17 November.

Priya has been in Yemeni prison since 2017 for the murder of Yemeni national Talal Abdo Mahdi. Originally sentenced to death by a trial court in 2018, Priya's family has been advocating for her release and according to media reports, her mother wishes to travel to Yemen to negotiate the conditions for her release.

The Incident 

A native of Kerala's Palakkad district, Nimisha Priya went to Yemen after completing a nursing training programme and worked in a few private hospitals.

In 2014, she crossed paths with Talal Abdo Mahdi, who pledged support in establishing her own clinic. Yemeni law mandated a local partnership for any business endeavor, prompting their collaboration.

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Previously, the high court declined to direct the Centre to negotiate the blood money payment but advised pursuing legal remedies against Nimisha's conviction in Yemen.

However, their partnership soured due to early conflict, prompting Priya to initiate her clinic independently in 2015. Media reports claim that Mahdi began threatening Priya, even going to the extent of seizing her passport to prevent her departure from Yemen.

After Priya filed a police complaint against Mahdi, which led to his arrest in 2016, his release meant that he persistently caused trouble for Priya.

In 2017, attempting to retrieve her passport from Mahdi's possession, Priya reportedly administered sedatives to Mahdi, leading to him dying due to an overdose.

Priya, alongside her colleague Hanan, a Yemeni national, reportedly dismembered Mahadi's body before disposing of it in a water tank. Priya received a death sentence in 2018, while Hanan was sentenced to life imprisonment for their involvement in the case.

Priya claims that she got sentenced to death, the highest punishment, as she did not get any legal support while her case was being considered in the court.

The Case So Far

Nimisha Priya's family has been seeking justice for her since 2018.

Recently, her mother petitioned the high court, aiming to travel to Yemen despite the travel ban on Indian nationals. She hoped to negotiate "blood money" with Talal’s family to secure her daughter's release. Talal’s family had reportedly asked for Rs 70 lakh as blood money in order to relieve her from the case, but Nimisha says she has no means to pay this.

The term "blood money" refers to compensation paid by an offender or their family to the victim's relatives.

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