UAE’s Shariya Law is exceptionally stringent when it comes to murder; it’s ‘An Eye for an Eye’, but the Court of UAE have a great respect for humaneness. March 2009, when 17 Indians were given the death penalty for the alleged murder of one Pakistani, this sentence shocked everyone, even someone like me who has spent 25 happy years in this country and trusts the systems here implicitly. Lawyers For Human Right Internationals (LFHRI) put out a fact finding report which revealed the Court’s proceedings weren’t in a language the accused understood and without a legal translator or proper legal representation they were handed down this deathly sentence.
The rising media condemnation pressured the Indian Embassy into providing the 17 accused proper legal representations for filing an appeal. For close to two years these men languished behind bars, whilst the Indian Embassy deliberately looked away, citing ‘NO MANDATE’ for protection of Non-Resident Indians (NRI) in such cases. But thanks to their harsh sentence, the situation of thousands of, migrant labourers have been brought to light; they languish helplessly, imprisoned in labour camps or prisons across the world, whilst the world’s largest democracy looks away.

Migrant families aren’t spared either; their life becomes a dark hole with no information/ assistance when a family member goes missing. For close to two years these hapless families went from pillar to post, becoming pawns for socio-political institutions; encountering refusal to accountability from their External Ministry. For some, even the announcement of the death penalty came as a ray of hope; at least their sons were alive! Like most of their colleagues, these 17 young men had paid a huge amount of money to nefarious ‘employment agents’ to secure jobs ‘overseas’- approximately US $ 3000.00. For this they sold their homes, lands, cattle, taking loans that they often leave their families to repay.Note: Piarelal on Migrant Lives.

‘1700 Indian Migrant Workers Still languish behind bars…Thousands more in Labor Camps-