Amnesty asks UAE to ensure fair trial for Indians on death row

The Indian migrants, all from Punjab, were sentenced to death on March 29, three months after their arrest, after being convicted by a Sharjah Shariah court for killing a Pakistani national.

"This is a mockery of justice. These 17 men have been tortured, forced to confess, and sentenced to death based on a fake video," Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International's Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa said in a statement.
The convicts, aged between 21 and 25, have launched an appeal in an Appellate Court seeking a review of the death penalty.

The case was regarding a fight, believed to be between rival gangs for control of an illegal alcohol business, in which a Pakistani died and three were injured.The Indian government sought consular access to the Indians after the verdict was pronounced, following which the Indian embassy here assisted them in launching an appeal.

Amnesty also said the men were held for months before the Indian government was notified of their arrest.The Indians have alleged they were tortured and abused by police over nine days to make them 'confess' to the crime.

Amnesty cited the allegations of Indian NGO Lawyers For Human Rights International (LFHRI) that they were "beaten with clubs, subjected to electric shocks, deprived of sleep and forced to stand on one leg for prolonged periods".

"The authorities must investigate these reports of torture and ensure that the results are made public and those allegedly responsible are held to account," said Sahraoui.
The LFHRI has also alleged that the conviction was based on a "fake video" filmed one month after the arrest, after the men were taken to the scene of the crime and "forced to re-enact it," the statement said. The videotape was presented at the trial as genuine CCTV footage of the killing, the NGO has alleged.

Taking note of the allegations, Amnesty asked the UAE authorities to investigate the allegations of torture and ensure a fair trial on appeal."They must be protected from further torture and other ill-treatment, and any evidence obtained using such methods should not be used in court," it said.  

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