Family Of Jaggi Johal Reveal The Mistreatment Suffered by Jaggi and What UK Government Has Done So Far

By 14th February 2018 0 Comments

Statement by the Family of Jagtar Singh Johal

13th February 2018

Jagtar Singh Johal:
Jagtar known affectionately as Jaggi by his family and friends is a Scottish national, born and bred in Glasgow. He, attended St Patrick’s Primary School, then went on to study at Woodside Secondary School and Our Lady & St Patrick’s High School. The family moved from Glasgow to Dumbarton around 17 years ago Jaggi enjoys playing cricket and football. He is an Arsenal and passionate Scotland Supporter. He also enjoys cooking and worked in the family takeaway business in Bearsden for a number of years. He is considered a friendly and bubbly person, who jokes around and is an easy going person. He is loved very much by his family and in particular his two nephews, whom he has spoiled since their birth.

Jaggi travelled with the entire family to India, Punjab in April 2017, where we all stayed together in the family village. During the visit he got engaged, to his now wife. Jaggi returned back to the UK in May 2017. The wedding was fixed for October 2017 and Jaggi travelled back to India along with family members to prepare for his wedding in early October. The wedding took place on October 18. Jaggi was due to return back home with the remaining family members on 1 November. However, he decided to spend more time with his wife whilst the relevant paperwork was filed for her visa application. Unfortunately Jaggi was abducted and arrested 3 days later on the 4 November 2017.

Jaggi celebrated his 31st birthday away from his family and inside a High Security Prison. This is the first birthday that Jaggi has spent away from his family in 31 years. Jaggi has told his wife on a number of occasions that he is missing his nephews and that he is completely innocent of all allegations. Jaggi’s nephews along with the rest of the family miss him deeply.

On November 4 2017, our world was turned upside down upon hearing Jaggi had been abducted. I was informed by Jaggi’s wife that he had been snatched off the streets and a sack was placed on his head and he was taken away by men in an unmarked car and in plain clothes. While the two were out shopping. It was unclear what had happened at first as nobody was giving out any information and nobody seemed to know where Jaggi was. Upon filing a missing person’s report at the local police station, the family was then informed he was taken by police officers in another district. The family in India were given the run-around by the police and nobody allowed them to meet Jaggi or actually disclose his real location.

The following day, both my younger brother and I travelled to India on the next flight and arrived in India on 6th November. We were forced to return on November 9, not by choice but due to the threat to our safety and the allegations made against Jaggi. Prior to leaving India, Jaggi’s passport was submitted to the British High Commission in New Delhi and all concerns were raised with them.

Torture and Mistreatment:
Jaggi was held in an undisclosed location and alienated from outside world for first 10 days of his detention. Jaggi was presented to the local court for the second time on November 10. He was denied legal and other representation, the hearing was held behind closed doors and we understand that Jaggi was unable to walk himself and had to be assisted into the court, due to the effects of the torture Jaggi endured. On 14 November Jaggi advised his lawyer at their first meeting that he had been subject to third degree torture, Including electrocution to the sensitive body parts and body stretching and separation techniques. The physical torture took place on the first 4 days, the period where he was hidden from the world and not allowed to meet anybody.

When I was informed of this mistreatment it totally broke me, how can a British Citizen be tortured and have his human rights abused by another countries police force in 2017.

Jaggi has also advised the FCO of the exact details of the torture he has suffered. He has confirmed that he was forcibly made to sign 8 to 10 blank-sheets during the first 4 days. The investigating agencies have threatened him with life in jail, if he does not confess to the crimes, or becomes a state approver (witness). He has been subject to various methods of mental and verbal torture, which include being 24 hour handcuffed, held in solitary confinement and regular threats to his life and his families.

Appearances in court, allegations, lack of evidence:
Jaggi has been presented in court 25 times, he has been detained for over 100 days without charge, he is oblivious to the allegations and reasons for his continued detention. The Indian Authorities have alleged that Jaggi has been linked to providing money and funding various murders in India. However, the Punjab police and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) have not been able to discover or provide a shred of evidence or trail to back these allegations.

The UK government are also completely in the dark about any alleged illegal activities that Jaggi is accused of while in the UK. There is also no complaint or investigation against Jaggi of any nature in the UK. The family are perplexed to the allegations as Jaggi was in the UK at the time of the various murders taking place. For clarity Jaggi travelled to India in 2007 with our mother, who unfortunately passed away whilst on holiday. Jaggi then travelled to India in September 2009 for my wedding and returned to the UK. Jaggi did not return to India again until April 2017 and then October 2017. It is also worth noting that the Indian Government granted Jaggi a 5 year visa in January 2017.

Jaggi is not named on any police First Incident Reports (FIR) however the police have sought a 90 day extension on top of the lapsed 100 days to file a charge sheet in the original case that he abducted on. Jaggi nor or his lawyer were provided any documents nor an opportunity to oppose the extension. Furthermore the NIA have now sought a further 90 days to investigate the allegations further. We find it extremely worrying that after 100 days the Police and now the NIA have been unable to find or share any evidence against Jaggi during their discovery and investigation. Despite this the Indian Authorities including the Deputy Indian High Commissioner seem confident that Jaggi will be charged for aiding and abetting 7 murders on January 8, 2018.

Restrictions on Consular Services, Legal Representation & Right to a Fair Trial:
Jaggi has not been allowed to have any private consular service meetings since his arrest, the FCO have declared Jaggi as a “vulnerable prisoner since their first meeting on 16 November. To date the Indian authorities have denied both a private meeting as well as repeated requests for an independent medical examination to verify and validate the torture. Despite this, Jaggi has taken it upon himself, putting his life at risk in order to talk to the FCO about his torture and mistreatment openly in the presence of senior police officials in order to have this issue raised.

Jaggi has been denied legal representation and consultation on various occasions. On two occasions, the investigating agencies have taken Jaggi to court without intimating to his lawyer and presented him at Court without legal representation or being provided a legal aid lawyer. Throughout Jaggi’s detention, there has been a complete lack of due process.

Jaggi’s right to a fair trial has been severely jeopardised, with the investigating agencies leaking interrogation interview videos to the media, dubbed ‘alleged confession videos’ to instigate a media trial, to influence the general public and the Judiciary with the notion of predetermined guilt. The Chief Minister of Punjab and senior Police officials stated in an open press conference broadcasted to over a billion people in India and through funnelled through their affiliate channels outside of India has ended Jaggi’s right to a fair trial.

Outstanding Actions from India and the UK:
The allegations of torture have been raised on a number of occasions by the UK Government, via the British High Commissioner, the Deputy High Commissioner, Ministry of External Affairs, Note Verbales and letters to the CM, DGP and DGI’s of Punjab. To date no formal response has been received.

Despite this the FCO have not taken the third degree torture seriously and have treated Jaggi as a second class citizen. The Indian authorities have not allowed an independent medical examination to be carried out despite two requests to the Sessional Courts and one to the High Court in Chandigarh. They have failed to protect their UK citizen and put him at constant danger of his life by delaying any form of investigation. Furthermore the FCO have failed to secure the basic private meeting with Jaggi despite them admitting on a number of occasions that “Jagtar has more to say and continues to ask about a private meeting”.

Lack of Action from the UK:
The UK government and the FCO have failed Jaggi, they have not adhered to their statement in Parliament, when on 21 November Foreign Minister Rory Stewart, promised “extreme action” if a British citizen has been tortured. The British government have failed to take appropriate action on a number of serious issues and opportunities with the Indians

Most frustratingly the FCO unnecessarily delayed matters further with an issue of consent, despite a sworn affidavit being provided by the lawyer along with a copy of the application submitted to the Court. Jaggi also asked the FCO to raise the torture and mistreatment appropriately in December then again in January. The FCO also have the written account of what Jaggi endured in the first four days, despite having this information for over a week, the FCO have not taken appropriate action or tried to safeguard a British National.

Four different caseworkers have been appointed on the case and the services provided have been unprofessional and have caused the family great distress. The UK government have put trade deals above the rights of its national and as a result have delayed raising the matter of torture and mistreatment, however they have found the time to engage and celebrate various events with the Indian authorities in both Delhi and London.

The report by REDRESS confirms the UK’s approach when it becomes with approaching cases of British National detained abroad and the same pattern is developing here. Jaggi has been treated as second class citizen, whilst his human rights have been breached, the UK government has become a spectator like the rest of the world.

Foreign Office Minister Mark Field MP has met with myself, on two occasions and on each occasion has not been able to provide any progress. The matter is beyond the FCO and Minister Field does not have the capacity to provide the “extreme action” promised. Disappointingly earlier promises of action and working to bring Jagtar home sooner rather than later appears to have been forgotten and substituted with appeasing and pandering to Indian officials on trade, at the expense of working towards investigating serious allegations of human rights abuses of a UK citizen. The slogan of “Bairns not Bombs” seems to have been forgotten and now replaced with “Trade over Rights”.

The Family Pleads:
The family requests the UK government, in particular Boris Johnson to intervene and take the “extreme action” promised by Foreign Minister to parliament on November 21.

We would request that the British public support the campaign to bring Jaggi back to his home in Dumbarton. There are concerns that the UK government is unable to protect it’s Citizen’s. This is highly concerning for every British national who travels abroad and has their basic human rights abused, is not afforded their full legal rights and UK Government cannot ensure their basic rights are afforded to them. We have seen this with the case of the Chennai 6 and the cases mentioned in the Redress report.

We call upon our Scottish brothers & sisters and the wider UK family to call for stronger action and to defend one of our own. This can only be achieved with your support by contacting your MSP, MP and mainstream media coverage as well as in physical protests as necessary to have our voice and rights heard.

Gurpreet Singh Johal
Brother of Jagtar Singh Johal

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