Special prayers offered in Ludhiana for early release of 17 Indians on death row in UAE

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Ludhiana, Apr 2(ANI): Relatives and friends of five of the 17 Indians, who have been sentenced to death by a United Arab Emirates (UAE) court for killing a Pakistani man, offered special prayers on Friday for their early release at a Gurdwara in Ludhiana.

"We are here to pray for the release of our boys. We request our Chief Minister, Prime Minister and the President to please intervene in the sentence and bring our boys back," said Sohan Singh, brother of Navjot Singh, one of the accused.

The family members have sought the Union Government's assistance, and said that their intervention will help get the 17 people back to India.

"We can't say anything till someone meets them and a legal procedure has started. We don't trust anybody. We don't know if anything is being done or not," said Manjeet Kaur, mother of an accused.

Earlier, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna had said that the government would provide legal assistance to those who have been involved in the case.

"We will give them counsellor assistance and we will also try to find out in what other ways we can help them out to file an appeal in a higher court," Krishna said.

The 17 people have been sentenced to death for killing a Pakistani man over an illegal alcohol business dispute in Sharjah in January 2009.

According to reports, about 50 people were involved in the fatal attack in which the Pakistani man was beaten to death with metal bars, but those sentenced to death were found to have been the leaders.

Three other Pakistani nationals were also injured in the attack, but they survived.

This is the highest number of death sentences handed down at one time in the UAE. (ANI)

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