Martin Docherty-Hughes, MP for West Dunbartonshire, has called on Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt to offer his full support to the family of a Scot who has been incarcerated in India for more than 500 days.
The SNP MP has secured a meeting with the UK Foreign Secretary to discuss the plight of Jagtar Singh Johal after raising concerns with Prime Minister Theresa May about the alleged torture and mistreatment of the 32 year old Scottish Sikh from Dumbarton.
Jagtar Singh Johal has been held without trial in India since 4 November 2017 after travelling to the Punjab for his wedding. It is alleged that whilst in police detention Jagtar Singh Johal was tortured by electric shock to his ears, nipples and genitals, forcing his limbs into opposite directions and forced sleep deprivation.
But the Indian authorities have so far refused to allow for an independent medical examination despite concerns being raised by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture.
UK government Ministers had assured Martin Docherty-Hughes MP that “extreme action” would be taken in the event of a British national being tortured. However, the family’s local MP say they have felt ignored and let down by the Foreign Secretary after repeated attempts to secure a meeting with Jeremy Hunt and his predecessor Boris Johnson fell on deaf ears.
Following pressure from Martin Docherty-Hughes and a cross-party group of MPs at the Commons, Jeremy Hunt has now agreed to talks with the family at a meeting due to be held at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London later next month.
Martin Docherty-Hughes MP said:
“I look forward to finally sitting down with the Foreign Secretary alongside the family of my constituent Jagtar Singh Johal.
“It’s disappointing that it’s taken this long, but the meeting is a welcome step forward and I hope Jeremy Hunt will finally show he’s serious about listening to our concerns.
“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.
“However, after more than 500 days incarcerated in India and 79 pre-trial hearings, there has yet to be any credible evidence presented against my constituent. And concerns remain that the Indian state continues to deny Jagtar an independent medical examination to investigate allegations that he has been tortured whilst in detention.
“This has been an extremely distressing experience for Jagtar’s friends, family and loved ones here in Dumbarton. They are determined to prove Jagtar’s innocence and continue to work tirelessly to secure justice on his behalf.
“It’s worrying that British Citizens detained abroad can be subject to such blatant abuses of their human rights. They and their families deserve the best possible support from their government and I would urge the Foreign Secretary to get serious about prioritising the rights of UK citizens over international trade deals.”