Sunday, October 2, 2022

Scot in Indian prison sends handwritten request to new PM Truss

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A Scots woman jailed in India has written to new Prime Minister Liz Truss urging her to show “more courage” than her predecessors in his arrest.

Jagtar Singh Johal, who has been detained without trial for almost five years, appeared in person in court in Delhi today and was formally charged.

He is accused of conspiracy to murder and membership of a terrorist gang.

A separate online letter, which campaigners hope will attract up to 20,000 signatures, including 90 per cent of MPs, was due to be delivered today after a protest at 10 Downing Street.

In his letter, Mr Johal congratulated Ms Truss on her appointment and said he hoped his “freedom would not be traded in exchange” for increased business ties between the UK and India.

He writes: “I hope you show more courage than your predecessors in tackling the problem of British citizens who have been languishing in Indian prisons for years without trial.”

He also describes his case as “highly politically motivated” and calls on the new prime minister to “take a stand and act” to secure his release.

“Otherwise,” the note continues, “as the cases of Sikh and minority political prisoners in India show, decades may elapse waiting for justice.”

The online letter said: “The UK government, under new leadership, must now urgently make every diplomatic effort to get Jagtar released and reunited with his family in Scotland.”

Mr Johal, 35, of Dumbarton, was arrested in November 2017, two weeks after his wedding in India’s northern Punjab region. The Indian government has accused him of being part of a terrorist plot that carried out the murders of prominent right-wing religious figures in spring 2017.

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