Ten Indians, facing execution in the UAE for murdering a Pakistani man, may soon return home as their death sentences were commuted to prison terms after a charity paid the blood money to the family of the victim, a media report said today. The ten men, who are from Punjab, were sentenced to death in October last year.
The Al Ain Court of Appeals following the payement of blood money sentenced two of the men to three-and-a-half years in jail and three others to three-year jail terms, Gulf News reported. Two others will now have to serve one-and-a-half years in prison and the remaining three persons will be jailed one year each.
Dinesh Kumar, first secretary for community affairs at the Indian Embassy, said that the verdict is a relief to the accused, who have been in jail since July 2015 and were sentenced to death in October 2016, and their families.
“We are grateful to the courts for this decision, and to the victim’s family, who agreed to pardon these young men. [What transpired in 2015] is indeed unfortunate, but these men hail from poor families that need their support,” he said.
An Indian charity organisation, Sarbat Da Bhala Charitable Trust, has already deposited the blood money in court on behalf of the accused, and this means that five of the men will soon be able to return home, said S P S Oberoi, chairman of the trust. The rest will be able to go back home by the end of the year or in early 2018 after serving the remainder of their sentences.
The Indians allegedly killed the Pakistani man during a brawl over bootlegging in Al Ain. Eleven men were convicted in the case but one was spared the death sentence.
Following the initial verdict, the victim’s father appeared at the Court of Appeals in March 2017 and submitted a letter of consent to pardon the defendants.
“It was a tough task to convince the victim’s family to pardon the accused. The [father eventually] told me there was no solution to his family’s pain. He said he didn’t want to inflict the same pain to ten Indian families [through their son’s death],” Oberoi said.
The Indian Embassy will soon issue air tickets and outpasses for the men who have finished serving their one- and one-and-a-half-year sentences and now face deportation. The convicted men worked in Al Ain as plumbers, electricians, carpenters and masons. Most of them are in their twenties.