Over 8,000 Indians lodged in foreign jails: MEA

4389 are lodged in jails of Gulf countries

New Delhi: Over 8,000 Indians are currently imprisoned in foreign jails and out of these 4,389 are lodged in Gulf countries, Union Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan said on Friday.

“As per the information available with the Ministry, the number of Indian prisoners, including under-trials, in foreign jails at present is 8441, out of which 4,389 are lodged in jails of Gulf countries (United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman),” MoS Muraleedharan said in response to a question in Lok Sabha.

While responding to a query on whether the inmates lodged in UAE jails can serve the rest of their sentence in Indian jails, MoS said that under the Agreement on Transfer of Sentenced Persons (TSP), which was signed on November 23, 2011, Indian nationals lodged in UAE prisons can be transferred to India to serve the remainder of their sentence and vice-versa.

“The transfer of a sentenced person to his country of nationality under the TSP Agreement is dependent on completion of various formalities such as prisoner’s willingness to be transferred, consent of the transferring and receiving country, availability of complete documentation necessary for processing the request, clearance from appropriate agencies, etc. Requests for requisite documents for processing the transfer of sentenced persons have been sent to the UAE side,” he added.

This comes after the case of eight former naval officers who were detained in Doha again came into the spotlight.

On December 1, MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said that India is regularly responding to the case of ex-Indian Navy officers arrested in Qatar as the embassy is actively pursuing the issue.

He said that the detained Indians are in touch with family members in India.

“We’ve been responding to this regularly. Our embassy is actively pursuing the case. We understand that detained Indians are able to speak to their families in India over the telephone now, some of them have families staying in Doha,” MEA spokesperson said.

The MEA spokesperson further added that some detainees have families in Doha and are being allowed to have physical meetings on a weekly basis.

“Those families are being allowed to have physical meetings, at least on a weekly basis. We will continue to extend all possible consular assistance and seek further consular access to these people. As soon as we have some more updates, we’ll bring that to you,” Bagchi said.

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