UK Intelligence Accused of Tip-Off Leading to Sikh Activist's Torture
British intelligence agencies MI5 and MI6 stand accused of tipping off Indian authorities about a British national, providing information that led to his abduction and alleged torture by Punjab police in India.
- British intelligence agencies MI5 and MI6 stand accused of tipping off Indian authorities about a British national, providing information that led to his abduction and alleged torture by Punjab police in India.
- Jagtar Singh Johal, from Dumbarton, Scotland, was arrested in India in 2017. His family say he was bundled into an unmarked car. He has remained in detention ever since where he has allegedly been tortured, including being subjected to electric shocks.
- Johal was a blogger and campaigner of Sikh rights in the UK before his arrest. Indian authorities in May charged him with crimes related to Sikh nationalism, including conspiracy to commit murder and membership in a terrorist organization. He potentially faces the death penalty.
- Successive British prime ministers have advocated for Johal's case, but India denies he was ever tortured or mistreated.
- The human rights group Reprieve released to the BBC what it says is compelling evidence that Johal's arrest followed a tip-off from British intelligence. The group says it has matched several details relating to his case to a specific claim of mistreatment documented in a report by the watchdog that oversees the intelligence agencies.
- Reprieve's investigators are apparently confident that the report from the Investigatory Powers Commissioner's Office (IPCO) refers to Johal - even though it doesn't name him - due to the dates concerned and the lobbying by British prime ministers, as well as supporting evidence detailed in the Indian press.
Sources: Belfast Telegraph, Independent, i, Guardian, and BBC News.
- Narrative A, as provided by The Scotsman. The UK government has an obligation to protect the liberty of its citizens and yet no one is acting on behalf of Johal. British authorities are choosing to prioritize the convenience of maintaining diplomatic relations with India over the protection of minority rights - the move shows a lack of integrity and reveals double standards in the way the UK denounces arbitrary detention in other countries but refuses to do anything for its own citizens.
- Narrative B, as provided by The Indian Express. Johal isn't as innocent as many media outlets are making out - he has in fact helped to fund violent terrorists who murdered people in targeted killings. While he certainly doesn't deserve to be tortured, his detention is not nearly as 'arbitrary' as western media is portraying.