Jagtar Signh Johal

Modi’s visit: UK should demand torture investigation for British national held in India

The UK government should seize the opportunity of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the United Kindgom to demand an immediate investigation into allegations that Indian police officers tortured British national Jagtar Singh Johal. The government should also seek guarantees that Jagtar will be protected from further harm and will be given swift access to justice in India.

Prime Minister Modi and 52 heads of government will participate in the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London from 16 to 20 April.

Jagtar Singh Johal, “Jaggi”, was hooded and seized by police officers in November 2017, while out shopping with his wife in Punjab, India. Five months later he remains detained by the Indian authorities but has never been charged.

Jagtar asserts that from 4 to 7 November, shortly after his arrest, Indian police tortured him by means of electric shocks to his ears, nipples and genitals, forcing his limbs into painful positions and forced sleep deprivation. Jagtar’s lawyers in India report that at a secret court hearing on 10 November, witnesses observed that he had severe difficulty in standing or walking, and had to be assisted by police officers as he entered and left the courtroom.

Jagtar is currently in judicial custody in Nabha prison. He has had no access to private consular assistance, only limited access to his lawyers, and has not been granted an independent medical examination, despite repeated requests by his lawyers.

REDRESS filed an urgent appeal to the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture in December 2017, urging him to call on India to protect Jagtar from any further torture and ill-treatment and to investigate the serious allegations of torture.

“The whole process against Jagtar in India has been compromised by the strong allegations of torture and the repeated violations of his most fundamental rights. The UK government should use this meeting to ensure that a full investigation into his treatment takes place immediately that is compliant with international standards.”

Rupert Skilbeck, Director of REDRESS.

More information about the case can be found on the REDRESS website here.

REDRESS is an international human rights organization based in London and The Hague which seeks justice and reparation for survivors of torture and related international crimes.

For more information or for an interview, please contact Eva Sanchis, REDRESS’ Head of Communications, on 020 7793 1777 or 07857110076 (out of hours) and [email protected].