The United Nation has declared that the detention of Jagtar Singh Johal (Jaggi) in India has no legal basis.
Jagtar Singh Johal, from Dumbarton, was arrested on alleged offences in 2017 and is yet to stand trial.
Now the United Nation’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has said that Mr Johal has been detained “arbitrarily” and should be released and returned to the UK immediately.
The working group is a panel of experts which investigates whether a person’s detention breaches accepted standards in international human rights law.
In a damning new finding on the case, it stated that there had been “violations of international human rights norms and standards in the arrest and detention of Mr. Johal” as well as “multiple violations of [his] right to a fair trial.”
It called on the Indian government “to take urgent action to ensure the immediate unconditional release and return of Mr. Johal” and “accord him an enforceable right to compensation and other reparations, in accordance with international law.”
Cllr Gurpreet Singh Johal, and Jaggi’s brother, speaking to Unsaid said:
“The UN WGAD have confirmed what we have been saying from day 1 the UK government knew Jaggi was arbitrary detained but neglected him for the past four and half years now they cannot hide and must call for the immediate release and return of Jagtar Singh Johal.”
Maya Foa, Reprieve, said:
“Mr Johal is supported by the legal and human rights charity Reprieve. Its director Maya Foa said the UN Working Group’s report was a “watershed moment” in the case and called on the UK government to do more to achieve his release.
“[It] means his detention is unlawful.”
“There is no longer any excuse for the government’s continued failure to call for Jagtar’s release and return. When a British citizen is tortured and held in pre-trial detention for four years, facing a potential death sentence, the prime minister’s responsibility is clear. What is Boris Johnson waiting for?”
Deepa Singh, from Sikh Youth UK, added:
“We have been campaigning for 4 and half years and will continue to pressure the Indian and UK governments until they release and return our bother Jaggi back to his family and loved ones, this new statement and finding from UN is nothing knew to the Sikh nation and this shows clearly how Sikh activists like Jagtar Singh Johal and many others are targeted for their activism and then neglected in the system.”
Sikh Human Rights Legal lead Sharon Kaur stated the UN have recognised that there is no likelihood or evidence that Jagtar Singh Johal has committed a crime.
She said: “He is being arbitrarily detained without any just cause. The UK must now ensure Jaggi is safely brought back to his family immediately.”
Bhai Amrik Singh, the Chair of the Sikh Federation (UK) said:
“Jagtar Singh Johal is a British born Sikh who went to India to get married but was abducted and tortured by Indian police. He has already spent his 5th consecutive birthday in jail although no evidence has been presented in court against him.
“Legal experts at Reprieve have concluded he is being held in arbitrary detention and now the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has given its definitive opinion.
“The UK Government is now duty bound as a permanent member of the UN Security Council and by its own policies to secure Jagtar’s immediate release and return to the UK to be with his family.
“The open letter to Boris Johnson sent by over 300 Gurdwaras and Sikh organisations exactly three months ago raised this matter and the appalling and unacceptable behaviour of Priti Patel in smearing the British Sikh community.
“We now need action from Liz Truss and Boris Johnson as raising the matter with the Indian PM and Foreign Minister is not enough.”
The Sikh community has been campaigning non stop, supporting Jaggi’s family and this is a new light of hope in his case for all the Free Jaggi Now supporters.