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.
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