Men convicted of killing Pakistani man in 2015 in Al Ain will serve prison terms before being deported
The death sentence given to ten young Indian men accused of murdering a Pakistani man in 2015 has been commuted to prison terms.
The Al Ain Court of Appeals sentenced two of the men to three-and-a-half years in jail and three others to three-year jail terms, according to court documents obtained by Gulf News. 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, told Gulf News 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
As Gulf News reported on December 8, 2016, the murder allegedly occurred during a brawl over bootlegging in Al Ain. Eleven men from the Indian state of Punjab 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.
“A few procedural formalities are pending and these will take a few days to be completed,” Kumar explained.
The convicted men worked in Al Ain as plumbers, electricians, carpenters and masons. Most of them are in their twenties.