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Sharjah Court Gives Settlement Time Till April 28

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17 Indian boys on Death Row

Sharjah court gives settlement time till April 28

Prabhjot Singh

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh/Sharjah, February 24

Seventeen Indian boys, 16 from Punjab and one from Haryana, facing death sentence in the Mishri Khan murder case have time till April 28 for a settlement with the family of the deceased, the Sharjah Appeal Court observed today. Mohammed Ramzan, who appeared on behalf of the family of Mishri Khan, reportedly informed the court that neither he nor the bereaved family had been approached by the defence for the settlement or “diya” so far.

At one of the previous hearings, the defence team virtually conveyed its disinclination for any settlement maintaining that it had to get instructions from the Indian Consulate. Further, the defence team was confident that its case was strong enough to get all the boys acquitted.

Dubai-based Indian businessman SP Singh Oberoi, who has been following the case, told The Tribune over the phone that this time the appeal court had given the final and the last opportunity to both parties to “try and get settlement done”, failing which the appeal against the conviction of all the 17 Indian boys would be proceeded further.

Though 17 Indian boys were convicted and awarded death sentence in January last year, an appeal filed on their behalf in April last year has witnessed several adjournments on technical grounds. Initially, it was the issue of a translator-cum-interpretor to which the appeal court refused to allow a nominee of the Indian Consulate-General insisting that the translator should be sponsored by the UAE Ministry of Justice.

Subsequently, the court also refused to accept relatives and friends of the deceased, Mishri Khan, maintaining they did not have proper authentication or power of attorney. Then when the issues relating to the translator-cum-interpretor and proper nominee of the deceased family were settled, the police officer who investigated the case could not make his appearance in the court for a couple of hearings.

While the defence team was convinced that the case was on its side and there was no scope browsing the issue of the settlement, families of Indian boys languishing in the jail for more than two years now were keen that if the “settlement could expedite their release, they should go ahead with it.”

One of them had said “they have already spent more than two years in the prison. Legal procedure is slow and long drawn. Even an acquittal after two or three more years of litigation will be meaningless as our families back home are starving and there is no one to look after them”. “Further, we being confined to the four walls of the prison, are also proving to be additional burden to our starved families,” he added, maintaining that “proving our innocence after a prolonged legal battle does not help us much.”

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