Phase 2 of the #FreeJaggiNow campaign

By 3rd December 2017 0 Comments


The aim is to try and write to over 200 MPs over this weekend.

1. Email the letter below to your MP. You will need to add the name of the MP at the top and your name and full address, including postcode at the bottom. If you want a word version of the letter email sikhfederationuk@yahoo.co.uk

a) You can find who your local MP by visiting:
http://findyourmp.parliament.uk

b) You can get the e-mail address for your MP by visiting:
http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps/

2. Copy your email to your MP to sikhfederationuk@yahoo.co.uk so we have confirmation of MPs as soon as you email him or her

3. Share copies of any responses by your MP

4. For those wanting to involve members of the Sangat at Gurdwaras in a mass letter writing campaign print the PDF version of the letter and get Sangat members to sign at the bottom of the first page and add their name and full address, including postcode. The MPs name can be added at the top afterwards using the postcode. Letters should be split by MP and posted.

5. Email sikhfederationuk@yahoo.co.uk with a list of MPs covered by the mass letter writing campaign at your Gurdwara.

Dear [Insert MPs name]

British national falsely imprisoned, tortured and subject to trial by media in India

4 weeks later he remains held without charge and is being denied access to British consular support and an independent medical assessment

Jagtar Singh Johal, a 30-year old UK citizen from Dumbarton travelled to Punjab on 2 October 2017 and was married on 18 October, but was abducted by plain clothes Indian police officers in Punjab on the 4 November while he was out shopping with his wife. Jagtar had been to Punjab for seven weeks in April to May this year when he was engaged and had no difficulties. Before this he had not been to Punjab for eight years.

Four weeks after his abduction the evidence available strongly suggests he has been tortured. Remarkably he still remains in police custody without charge and he has been denied access to privately meet his lawyers or British consular staff despite the UK Government claiming it has been lobbying at the highest levels for private and unfettered access to Jagtar. Background to Jagtar’s case is overleaf.

I understand members of the public, Scottish Parliamentarians and government, politicians in other countries and other governments as well as over 200 MPs in Westminster have raised Jagtar’s case with the Foreign Secretary. The Prime Minister and leader of the opposition have expressed concern with the allegations of torture and Parliament has been told the UK Government will take ‘extreme action’ if the allegations of torture against a British citizen are substantiated.

I am deeply concerned and worried that despite the profile of this case the British authorities have been repeatedly prevented by the Indian authorities from obtaining private access to a British citizen alleged to have been tortured. The British authorities must take direct action to safeguard Jagtar be demanding an independent and full medical assessment that can detect the torture he has been subject to.

As someone who travels abroad and may travel to India this case therefore effects me personally and my family and as my constituency MP I would urge you to raise as a matter of urgency with the Foreign Secretary and the Prime Minister the need for Britain to take a much more robust stand against the actions of the Indian authorities.

The evidence available strongly suggests Jagtar has been subject to third degree torture. Therefore, I would like you to find out from the Foreign Secretary and Prime Minister what “extreme actions” promised in Parliament on 21 November will now be taken by the UK Government to:

a) Secure immediate and unfettered access for British consular staff to meet and support Jagtar

b) Obtain an independent and full medical assessment of Jagtar to confirm the severity of physical and mental torture

c) Clarify the British government position with a strongly worded rebuttal of misinformation that has been provided by the Indian authorities to the Indian media on the alleged duplicate role of the British authorities in this case

d) Point out trial by media accusations by the police and politicians is totally unacceptable and prevents any possibility of a fair trial in India

e) Get Jagtar immediately returned to the UK as no evidence of any illegal activity has been presented in any of his eight court appearances to date

Yours sincerely,

Your name and full postal address, including postcode

Background

Three days after Jagtar’s abduction the Chief Minister of Punjab and the Director General of Police held a joint press conference on 7 November and astonishingly claimed to have cracked a number of unsolved murders and named Jagtar as one of those accused in the conspiracy. Multiple and farfetched accusations have subsequently been made in the media ranging from funding murder, handling weapons and conspiring with the Pakistani ISI.

On 10 November Jagtar was secretly presented in court while his lawyers and British consular staff were outrageously left outside the courtroom waiting to be called. They were informed along with the media after he had been presented before the court and had left the courtroom that police custody had been extended for four more days. It is normal practice in India for the person accused to be paraded to the media before and after the court appearance, especially given the press conference three days earlier.

For 10 days after Jagtar had been abducted his whereabouts were unknown and he was denied all access to lawyers, British consular staff and family members. When he first briefly met his lawyer in the courtroom on 14 November Jagtar made allegations of third degree torture, including leg separation and electric shocks to his nipples, ears and private parts. He also subsequently told his lawyer he has been forced to sign blank papers.

His lawyers formally petitioned on 14 November for an independent medical assessment that has been denied. After considerable lobbying British consular staff were eventually able to meet Jagtar on 16 November, some 12 days after his abduction, torture and interrogation. However, two senior police officers remained in the small interrogation room to prevent a private conversation and Jagtar was unable to provide direct consent to the British High Commission that they insist is needed for them to escalate the issue regarding torture and to demand an independent medical assessment. The experienced consular officer present assessed and concluded that Jagtar was prevented from fully opening up about his mistreatment and to show signs of torture and was declared ‘vulnerable’.

British consular staff had their request to meet Jagtar for the second time on 23 November withdrawn by the Chief of Police at the eleventh hour. After considerable lobbying from the Deputy British High Commissioner the Chief Minister intervened and promised access to Jagtar before the court hearing the next day.

The Deputy British High Commissioner himself attended court the next morning with consular staff, but access was denied to Jagtar before the court hearing. However, the court ruled private access should be granted for one hour the same day between 6-7pm. Further obstacles were introduced by the Punjab administration, including the need for consular staff to seek approval from the Ministry of External Affairs in Delhi. Although this was also complied with the police ignored the court ruling and Jagtar was denied a private meeting with consular staff. Jagtar’s lawyers have now petitioned the Punjab and Haryana High Court for an independent medical assessment.

The courts have continued to extend police remand to date, including several times for recovery of Jagtar’s British passport although they have had evidence that it was lodged with the British High Commission in Delhi on 8 November. The judge has failed to address non-compliance with the court order of a private meeting with consular staff.

To date Jagtar has had eight court appearances, but not been charged and remains in police custody as opposed to judicial custody. In police custody abuse and mistreatment such as sleep deprivation, verbal abuse, misinformation about his family and the British authorities to try and demoralise Jagtar and other forms of mental exploitation continue. There are now reports that Jagtar’s case has been forced to be handed by the Punjab administration to the National Investigation Agency due to their extremely poor handling of the case and due to the lack of hard evidence.

Jagtar’s family and in-laws continue to be continuously harassed. His elderly great aunt who lived alone in his ancestral home had her telephone line cut by the police after being interrogated. This was her only form of communicating with Jagtar’s immediate family and she was distraught following his abduction, torture and media accusations by Punjab police. Earlier this week she regrettably passed away and on the day of the funeral the police shamefully ransacked the family home where she lived looking for evidence or more likely wanting to plant evidence and has added insult to injury.




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Posted in: Breaking News, Punjab

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