Two men from Punjab have been executed by beheading in Saudi Arabia, the ministry of external affairs (MEA) has confirmed. The Indian embassy in Saudi Arabia, however, was not informed before Satwinder Kumar of Hoshiarpur and Harjeet Singh of Ludhiana were executed on February 28, it said.
Expressing shock over the “barbaric and inhuman”, Punjab chief minister flayed the MEA for failing to prevent, and then not disclosing the execution of the two men, till it was forced to do so by a petition filed by Satwinder’s wife.
Amarinder said he would approach Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj to secure more details about the execution of the two men, allegedly in connection with a murder case.
As per the Saudi system, the families of the two deceased will only get death certificates and not the mortal remains, the MEA informed Satwinder’s wife Seema Rani.
As per Satwinder’s family, they had received a call from someone in Saudi on March 2 informing them about the execution. However, there being no official confirmation, Seema Rani approached the MEA. Not getting any concrete answers, she filed a petition in Punjab and Haryana High Court, which issued a notice to the Centre on April 8 asking it to confirm if Satwinder had been executed in Saudi Arabia.
Seema Rani received a letter from the MEA on Tuesday.
Signed by Prakash Chand, director (consular), the letter reads, “Our embassy in Riyadh received a note verbale dated February 28, 2019 from Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs by fax in the evening the same day stating implementation of execution order of late Satwinder Singh and Harjit Singh on February 28, 2019. The embassy had not been informed about execution beforehand”.
The MEA said that the Indian embassy on March 3 requested the Saudi authorities for providing information about the mortal remains of the two. “As no response was received from Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the embassy’s note, a reminder was sent n March 14 but a response is still awaited…”
It further said that it has “been informally learnt that under the Saudi system, the mortal remains of those who are executed are not handed over either to the embassy of that country or to the family members of the deceased”.
As per officials Satwinder and Harjeet were arrested on December 9, 2015 on charges of allegedly murdering Arif Imamuddin, another Indian national.