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Mr Nav Johal is a former research scientist and an outspoken critic of the Indian government. His family has claimed that he was tortured by government officials, but the case has remained unresolved. A trial against him is set to begin on 28 November.
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Nav Johal’s family claim he was tortured
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Mr Johal is a British Sikh human rights activist. He is being accused of being part of a terrorist gang and faces a death penalty if found guilty. The family has launched a legal action against the UK government. It alleges that the intelligence agencies unlawfully shared information with the Indian authorities.
In May, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention ruled that there was no legal basis for Johal’s detention in India. However, his case has been cited by a number of human rights groups. This is particularly worrying because Johal was subjected to lengthy interrogation and torture during his arrest.
In the five years since his arrest, his family have not been allowed to speak with him directly. They have been given limited contact with his legal representatives.
His brother, Gurpreet, said the family has suffered a “living nightmare” because of the government’s treatment of him. He said the family had been betrayed. A high court claim was lodged against the Foreign Office and the Attorney General.
Nav Johal’s case has been raised almost 100 times
The UN has recently published a report on Jagtar Singh Johal, calling for his immediate release. This report cited several instances in which his rights were violated. Among them was his torture in prison. In particular, the report cites his use of “electronic devices” to deprive him of sleep.
Several British officials, including the prime minister, have raised concerns about the treatment of Mr Johal, with the Indian foreign secretary writing to the Indian external affairs minister. Boris Johnson has also personally raised the matter with the Indian prime minister.
The UN has said Johal’s detention is arbitrary, and that it is in violation of international human rights laws. A group of experts, the working group on arbitrary detention, has released a report on his case. It states that Johal’s detention has no legal basis, and calls for reparations.
The most basic form of justice is for Johal to be freed. His lawyer has cited numerous occasions in which his life has been at risk. He alleges that his detention has been based on confessions, which have been insufficiently corroborated.