I want to thank constituents who have written to me regarding the distressing case of Jagtar Singh Johal, a British citizen who was detained in India in November 2017.
Mr Johal was arrested in 2017 after travelling to India for his wedding where he was tortured into making a so-called ‘confession’ to charges carrying the death penalty. He has now been detained for more than four years, is yet to stand trial in any case he stands accused in, and is being held at Delhi’s Tihar jail. He and his family strongly deny the allegations. Efforts to secure his release on bail have failed.
I can only imagine what a distressing time this has been for Mr Johal and his family.
I know that Mr Johal’s family has persistently raised his case with the Government. The Prime Minister has reportedly raised Mr Johal’s case with the Indian Prime Minister on several occasions. However, it is clear that more must be done, and the Prime Minister must officially request Mr Johal’s release.
When a British national has been so gravely mistreated, with no legal basis, the Government must act decisively to negotiate their release. To exert maximum pressure and to ensure a coordinated approach, I will be supporting cross-party efforts towards securing Mr Johal’s release.
Ministers and officials should continue to raise Mr Johal’s case with their Indian counterparts, calling for his release. Representations should also continue in relation to Mr Johal’s reports of torture, delays to legal proceedings, and the importance of Mr Johal’s right to a fair trial. The Foreign Office should also ensure that Mr Johal’s family continue to be informed about his welfare and any developments.
I call on the Prime Minister and the Foreign Office to raise this case with the Indian government directly as a matter of urgency.
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On the 29th June, there will be an Estimates day debate on the British Council. The financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic means that the British Council will be closing 20 offices around the world. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to take part in the debate, but I do feel strongly about these closures.
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