NIA Violating Jaggi’s Human Rights Exposed By Sikh Fed Uk

By 17th January 2018 0 Comments


• Indian authorities struggling to find evidence to charge and prosecute Jagtar despite torture and threats to extract a confession

• British authorities accused of giving positive signals, but then dragging their heels and incompetence

London ( 17 January 2018): Earlier today the National Investigation Agency (NIA) took police remand of Jagtar Singh Johal, the 30-year old from Dumbarton who was in India to get married and has spent over ten weeks in prison in India without charge.

Jagtar, his family, those supporting him across the globe and his lawyers were relieved when at the start of the month his police custody came to an end after a two month nightmare.

In police custody he faced third degree torture, threats, intimidation and mental blackmail with the unprecedented release of so-called confessional police investigation videos to the Indian media.

Today in a surprise and secret move highlighting the desperation of the NIA Jagtar was taken out of judicial custody in high security Nabha Jail and presented before an Additional Sessions Judge, with the special NIA judge on leave.

Jagtar was not allowed any legal representation and the court handed over Jagtar to the NIA for the next 6 days.

Bhai Amrik Singh, the Chair of the Sikh Federation (UK) said:

“We are deeply concerned with this latest move. Based on what we know Jagtar’s life is in serious danger and the UK Government appears powerless or unwilling to act against the Indian authorities.”

“The Foreign Office has been dragging its heels and given what his lawyer has shared in writing with the British Deputy High Commissioner about the NIA modus operandi in this case they will know now is the time for the ‘extreme action’ they promised.”

On 21 November Rory Stewart, a Foreign Minister, promised MPs in Parliament they would take ‘extreme action’ against India if allegations of torture were proved.

We can reveal on 27 November Mark Field, the Foreign Minister responsible for relations with India, gave positive signals on their hopes of Jagtar being released “sooner rather than later” in a meeting with Jagtar’s brother and his MP Martin Docherty-Hughes.

However, it took the British authorities until 14 December when Jagtar put himself at risk by insisting in front of senior police officers that the third degree torture issue needed to be escalated and for British concerns to be formally raised in writing with the Indian authorities. Further frustrated with the lack of progress by the FCO, on such serious allegations, Jagtar himself took even great personal risk to directly inform the FCO in an supervised meeting on the 11 January about the third degree torture he suffered in intimate detail.

The update from the Head of Prisoner Policy and Human Rights Team at the FCO read,

”Staff were able to discuss torture and mistreatment allegations… Jagtar said that he was physically mistreated during the period 4-7 November, when he was first detained.”

This confirmation has led to strong calls from the family and supporters of the campaign to demand that the British government immediately act upon a promise of ‘extreme action’ following this personal statement from Jagtar.

It is understood the British Deputy High Commissioner raised concerns about the police investigation videos being released to the Indian media that would prevent Jagtar getting a fair trial if he is charged, the third degree torture allegations, the lack of agreement to independent medical examinations and the lack of private access to British consular staff.

The Foreign Office have however refused to share their correspondence and any responses from the Indian authorities with Jagtar’s brother or his MP.

We can reveal today that British consular staff are still being prevented from meeting Jagtar in private, but that Jagtar has told the senior consular staff including the British Deputy High Commissioner, Andrew Ayre on at least three occasions that a medical examination has not actually been carried out, despite this the FCO have been unable to secure an independent medical examination.

When Jagtar was moved to judicial custody more than two weeks ago he met his newly wed wife for the first time in two months on 4 January and his lawyer in private for the first time on 5 January since his abduction on 4 November.
However, British consular staff were prevented from having a private meeting with Jagtar when they visited him last week in Nabha jail on 11 January.

Bhai Amrik Singh, the Chair of the Sikh Federation (UK) continued:

“The actions of the NIA that took responsibility for the investigation in mid-December are only now emerging and need to be made public with the latest worrying development.”

“We have been given correspondence from late December between his lawyer and the British Deputy High Commissioner indicating his concerns on being prevented access to Jagtar by the NIA, his worries about Jagtar’s mental well-being and grave threats to Jagtar’s life made by NIA officials.”

Under police custody the courts eventually granted his lawyer one hour access on a daily basis.

However, according to correspondence between Jagtar’s lawyer and the British Deputy High Commissioner that we have seen on 21 December he was “given less than five minutes” to meet Jagtar with “eight to ten NIA officials” present. He was given no access to Jagtar from 23 December until he was presented in court on 26 December.

When Jagtar met his lawyers (Advocate Jaspal Singh Manjpur and senior Defence Counsel, Advocate Brijinder Singh Sodhi) in court on 26 December he revealed to them “he has been pressurised and threatened by the NIA officials in New Delhi that either he confesses to the crimes alleged” or he becomes a prosecution witness.

His lawyer states in writing to the British Deputy High Commissioner (on 26 December) “He also disclosed that the officials threatened him that if he turns down these offers then he will face severe consequences and spend the rest of his life in jail.”

All quotes are from Jaspal Singh Manjpur to Andrew Ayre, the British Deputy High Commissioner.

Bhai Amrik Singh, the Chair of the Sikh Federation (UK) added:

“In the past “severe consequences” would have meant severe torture, death in police custody in a fake encounter or extra-judicial killing. However, with the world’s eyes watching this now means Jagtar spending the rest of his life in jail on trumped up charges unless he confesses or becomes a prosecution witness for the NIA.”

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Posted in: Punjab