The family of imprisoned Dumbarton man Jagtar Singh Johal say they fear he will be stuck in arbitrary detention for 40 years due to delays in the Indian justice system.
Speaking as campaigners mark 2,000 days since the 36-year-old’s arrest in India, Jagtar’s brother Gurpreet Singh Johal said he could be in his 70s by the time the trial is completed based on current timescales.
Scottish Sikh Jagtar – known as Jaggi – was arrested in India after his wedding in 2017, accused of helping to fund a Sikh-on-Hindu assassination plot – something he and his family strongly deny.
An investigation by the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention determined that there was no legal basis for Jagtar’s detention in India, citing multiple violations of his human rights – including claims he was tortured into signing a false ‘confession’, through electric shocks to his ear lobes, nipples, and genitals.
The family’s local MP Martin Docherty-Hughes has been leading a cross-party campaign pressing Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to intervene in the case.
Criticism has been levelled at the UK government for failing to secure Jagtar’s release, amidst claims Ministers are prioritising a trade deal with India over the human rights of a British citizen.
Commenting, Martin Docherty-Hughes MP said:
“As we mark the 2,000th day of Jagtar’s imprisonment, the UK government has massive questions to answer on why it’s going soft on the case when this UK citizen needs them the most.
“Their recent submissions stating that they didn’t believe Jagtar to have been tortured was a slap in the face for his family, who they have strung along for these five and a half years.
“Promises of ‘extreme action’ by Tory Ministers have been unfulfilled and their representations have been weak and predictable.
“As the UN report clearly stated, Jagtar has been arbitrarily detained – yet the UK and Indian governments remain seemingly the only two actors in the case unable to acknowledge this fact.
“It’s appalling that while Ministers prioritise a trade deal, my constituent is left languishing in prison with no resolution in sight.”