The families of 10 youths from Punjab who were on death row for murder of a Pakistani national got a great relief on Wednesday when the High Court of Abu Dhabi pardoned them after consent from the deceased family, which accepted “blood money” of two lakh Dirham and gave in writing to the court that they had pardoned the youth.
The deceased was Muhammad Farhan.
The next hearing of the case would be on April 12 when the court will decide the punishment for the additional charge of bootlegging which the youths faced.
The families of all 10 youths are poor and could not arrange any money. Dubai-based hotelier and social worker S P Singh Oberoi, who also runs Sarabat Da Bhala Trust, paid the blood money, besides other expenses that totalled around Rs 60 lakh.
Talking to The Indian Express from Dubai on phone Wednesday, Oberoi said he along with his counsel appeared in the High Court today and the deceased’s father gave in writing that he had pardoned the youths and accepted the “blood money” as per Shariat law.
Earlier, a court in Al Ain city of United Arab Emirates (UAE) had sentenced the 10 youths to death on October 26, 2016. The appeal in this case was filed in Abu Dhabi High Court by Oberoi, who told the court that though he personally did not know them (youths on death row), their families had met him in Punjab and sought his help. “Ie told the court I wanted to help them on the basis of humanity and then contacted the deceased’s family in Peshawar and convinced them to pardon them for blood money,” Oberoi said.
“We have been praying for their safe return and today’s development has given us a hope,” said Jagtar Singh, father of Satminder Singh of Barnala, adding that during the next hearing on April 12, the court may pronounce some mild punishment for them.
Jagir Kaur of Cholang village near Phagwara, whose 27-year-old son Balwinder Singh is among those on the death row in the case, said, “We had sent him to Dubai three years back after taking a debt of Rs 1 lakh. He could not send any money to us and got involved in the case,” said Kaur, adding she has three daughters and her husband is a labourer.
Oberoi, who has saved over 70 youths from the gallows in UAE, of which 17 were from Punjab and Haryana, said most of the young men from Punjab got involve into bootlegging business in UAE which is illegal and a very serious offence. “The court mostly awards death sentence in such cases and blood money is the only way out,” he said.
What was the case?
A Pakistan national was killed following a brawl over bootlegging in Al Ain city on July 13, 2015. A total of 11 young men from Punjab were booked in the case. Of the 11, one youth, Kuldip Singh, was released after paying a fine of Rs 2 lakh (Indian currency) while others were awarded capital punishment on October 26, 2016.