Scottish MP Continues To Fight For Jagtar Singh Johal’s Basic Human Rights

Reporter columnist: Martin Docherty-Hughes MP continues fight to free Jagtar Singh Johal

With Christmas and Hogmanay just around the corner this is an important time for being with our families and loved ones.
No one can fail to have been moved by the images of Scot Billy Irving returning home to his fiancée and young son in time for Christmas after four years in an Indian prison.
But for the family of Dumbarton man Jagtar Singh Johal, currently imprisoned in India, Billy’s release was a painful reminder of the challenges we face in bringing Jagtar back home to Scotland.

On November 4, Jagtar was arrested following his wedding in India, in circumstances more akin to a kidnapping than an arrest. Out of nowhere he had a sack forced over his head and was bundled into the back of a van by Punjab police. Despite desperate enquiries by his family, no details were given of why he had been arrested and where he had been taken.
At the time of writing this Jagtar has yet to be charged with any crime. Despite being detained for over six weeks, and appearing in court several times, we know little detail of the allegations against him. Serious concerns have been raised about his treatment whilst in detention, including reports of abuse and physical torture.
Whatever the accusations, Jagtar has the right to a fair trial and we cannot ignore these apparent human rights abuses. Over the past few weeks I have been working to help ensure Jagtar’s welfare and protect his basic human rights.
Jagtar is a former Our Lady of St Patrick’s pupil. His family in Dumbarton have been left devastated by his imprisonment and I’m doing all I can to assist with the support of parliamentarians from all parties.
The Indian authorities cannot ignore their obligations under international law. I will continue working with colleagues and government authorities to ensure an open and transparent judicial process.

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Posted in: Human Rights

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