Fresh appeal for Scottish Sikh imprisoned in India

A charity has appealed to Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab to secure the immediate release of a Scottish Sikh who has been held in India without trial for more than three years.

Jagtar Singh Johal, 33, was arrested on November 4, 2017 after travelling to the Punjab for his wedding, with local media linking his detention to the killing of Hindu leaders in Punjab.

The Times and the BBC report human rights group Reprieve has written to Mr Raab over concerns that some of the Dumbarton man’s charges carry the death penalty.

“Reprieve is concerned that the risk of Jagtar being sentenced to death and executed is high given the politicised nature of this case,” the Times quoted Reprieve’s statement as saying.

Mr Singh Johal told the newspaper and the BBC he had signed a blank confession after being tortured.

“They made me sign blank pieces of paper and asked me to say certain lines in front of a camera under fear of extreme torture,” he said via his lawyer.

He also repeated allegations of torture and mistreatment by Indian authorities.

Martin Docherty-Hughes MP alongside family of Jagtar Singh Johal
Martin Docherty-Hughes MP alongside family of Jagtar Singh Johal

Martin Docherty-Hughes MP has previously raised the case in the House of Commons and arranged for Mr Raab’s predecessor Jeremy Hunt to meet with his constituent’s family.

“Irrespective of what Jagtar’s been accused of, he is a British Citizen and the Foreign Office has an obligation to ensure his rights under international law are protected,” the West Dunbartonshire MP said in March 2019.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has been contacted for comment.