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Jagtar Singh Johal British spy agencies tipped off Indian authorities who 'tortured' Briton

A British Sikh is facing a possible death sentence after the UK intelligence services passed information about him to Indian authorities. 

Lawyers for Jagtar Singh Johal from Dumbarton, Scotland, say he was tortured, including being given electric shocks, after his unlawful arrest in Punjab in 2017 where he was travelling for his wedding. 

Successive British prime ministers have raised his case but India's government denies he was tortured or mistreated.

Mr Johal is currently being held in a Delhi prison. He has alleged that, following his arrest, he was held incommunicado, was brutally interrogated for hours on end, and was initially denied access to lawyers or British consular officials.

He says he was made to sign blank sheets of paper that were later used against him as a false confession.

Mr Johal was an active blogger and campaigner for Sikh human rights, which are said to have brought him to the attention of the Indian authorities.

The campaign group Reprieve, which is representing him, says it has uncovered documents suggesting MI5 and Mi6 tipped off the Indian authorities about Johal.

On 12 August, Mr Johal lodged a claim in the High Court against the Foreign Office, the Home Office and the attorney general, alleging that UK intelligence agencies unlawfully shared information with the Indian authorities when there was a risk he could be tortured.

Reprieve says this case suggests the government has failed to fix longstanding shortcomings in its policy on torture and the death penalty and has learned little from past failings such as the MI6 tip-off that led to the rendition and torture of Libyan dissident Abdulhakim Belhaj.

This year the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention determined that Mr Johal’s detention “lacks legal basis”, was based on “discriminatory grounds” owing to his Sikh faith and his “status as a human rights defender”.

Read more at the BBC

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