Boris Johnson urged to intervene to help free Scot jailed in India without trial


Boris Johnson has been urged to raise the case of a Scot jailed in India without trial on his official visit to the country this week.

The Prime Minister is due to meet with Narendra Modi in New Dehli for talks tomorrow as the UK steps up calls for the Indian Government to distance itself from Russia following the invasion of Ukraine.

Now an SNP MP has written to Johnson urging the Tory leader to use the visit as an opportunity to publicly call for the release of Jagtar Singh Johal.

The 34-year-old, from Dumbarton, is being held under India’s anti-terror laws after being accused of conspiring to murder a number of right-wing Hindu leaders.

Johal maintains his innocence and last year told the BBC he was tortured before being made to sign a blank confession.

He had traveled to India in 2017 from his home in Scotland for a wedding celebration but was arrested by police two weeks later and has remained in jail since.

Martin Docherty-Hughes, MP for West Dunbartonshire, has been leading a campaign for the release of his constituent.



West Dunbartonshire MP Martin Docherty-Hughes

He told the Record: “The case of Jagtar Singh Johal is callous and cruel.

“Mr Johal was incarcerated without trial and is believed to have been tortured whilst in India. This cannot continue.

“That is why I am urging the Prime Minister to use his upcoming trip to India to highlight my constituent’s case with Prime Minister Narendra Modi so that a swift and proper conclusion can be reached.

“He must also ensure that Jagtar’s detention is classed as an arbitrary one, so that the UK government can call for his immediate release.

“A statement of shared values ​​for the rule of law would serve as a strong introduction to talks which I’m sure will center around security and the cost of living crisis.

“We witnessed first-hand, through the case of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anoosheh Ashoori, that the UK Government can bring their residents home.

“We must see a similar approach with Mr Johal.

“He has suffered for too long – it is time to bring him home.”

In his letter to Johnson, the SNP MP said: “This has been a long and testing wait for Jagtar and his family in Dumbarton.

“Last year, the human rights charities Redress and Reprieve came to the legal conclusion on something that had seemed increasingly clear to those of us who have closely followed Jagtar’s case – that his detention was an arbitrary one, and that your Government should acknowledge this, along with a commitment to call for his immediate release.

“I understand that you will raise Jagtar’s case, probably more than once, during the time of your trip.

“It is something you did as Foreign Secretary, and indeed something that UK Government officials at all levels have done on numerous occasions, and while this may be something I know Jagtar’s family are immensely grateful for, it has not changed the Indian Government’s approach to the case.”

The Record raised the issue of Jagtar’s detention with the Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman yesterday.

The official said: “I can’t pre-empt what the Prime Minister will say in India but there are a number of ways that case will be taken forward.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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