New Delhi, March 17: Ministry of External Affairs stated that around 7,059 Indian nationals are lodged in foreign jails, where 203 Indians are lodged in Chinese Jails, 39 are in Bangladeshi Jails, and 362 Indians are lodged in Pakistani Jails and 1214 in UAE jails.
Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh informed that due to the strict provisions of privacy laws, the US, Canada, Australia and many countries in Europe do not share information about Indian nationals in their prisons.“However, as per information available, 7,059 Indian nationals are lodged in foreign jails. Various articles seized from them include Voice over Internet Protocol VOIP set along with SIM cards, fake passports, narcotic drugs, fake currency, boats, GPS, stimulating tablets, foreign currency and gold,” he said.
V K Singh said that as soon as the information about detention or arrest of an Indian national is received by an Indian Mission or Post, it gets in touch with the local Foreign Office and other concerned local authorities to get consular access to the detained or arrested Indian national to confirm their Indian nationality and ensure their welfare. In some countries where pro bono lawyers are available, the Mission arranges legal assistance to the Indian prisoners. Government of India also provides initial legal assistance to distressed Indian nationals in deserving cases.
Indian Missions took the steps which included requesting local authorities for speedy trials, seeking remission of sentence, providing advice and guidance in legal and other matters, ensuring fair and humane treatment in foreign jails, issuing of emergency certificates and repatriation to India of those who are released, the minister noted. Some of those who are jailed in UAE are been charged with spying on the government of India itself.
India has already signed the Treaties for Transfer of Sentenced Persons with 42 countries, under which Indian prisoners have been brought back from some of these countries. V K Singh also said that in those cases where Indian nationals complete their sentences and are waiting for completion of deportation formalities, Indian Missions and Posts in those countries take up with the respective foreign governments the speeding up of the process, including issue of final exit visas, waiver of penalties imposed on Indian workers, etc. from the concerned authorities and for the early return of the Indian nationals to India. Where required, the Indian Missions and Posts abroad also provide airfares for facilitating the return of the Indian prisoners who have completed their sentences, to India.