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India seeks consular access to 17 convicts sentenced to death

March 30, 2010 10:46 IST

The Indian Consulate in Dubai has sought consular access to 17 Indians who have been sentenced to death by Sharjah's Shariah court for killing a Pakistani man and injuring three others in a vicious attack last year.

"The Consulate is seeking more details, including a copy of the judgment on the 17 Indians reportedly sentenced to death," the mission said in a statement to Khaleej Times.

Even Minister of Indian Overseas Affairs Vayalar Ravi, reacting to the verdict, has said, "We have already asked the Indian Consulate for a report and they have been asked to move fast for helping those people to appeal."

The Shariah court sentenced the 17 convicted Indian labourers to death after all evidence, including DNA tests, showed that they had knifed the Pakistani to death in January last year during a fight over the control of illegal liquor business in Al Sajaa area of Sharjah, one of UAE's emirates.

However, according to the United Arab Emirates' laws, the convicted workers can move in appeal within 15 days of the verdict, a court official said.

A Justice Ministry source was quoted by the English daily as saying, "(This is) a preliminary sentence and, by force of law, is subject to other forms of litigation."

The verdict against the 17, who, according to the prosecutors, led the attack, is said to be the highest number of people awarded the death penalty in one instance in the UAE, the newspaper said.

Meanwhile, the Indian Community Welfare Committee in Dubai and Indian Association Sharjah have said they would step up anti-alcohol awareness campaigns in labour camps, following recent bootlegging violence.
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