New Delhi: Seventeen Indians, who were on death row in the UAE for murdering a Pakistani national and later freed by a Sharjah court on furnishing blood money, arrived at the IGI airport in Delhi today.
"The men, 16 from Punjab and one from Haryana, arrived here in an Air India flight (AI 996) from Sharjah and immediately left for Amritsar," airport sources said.
They were convicted of killing Pakistani national Misri Khan during a brawl over bootlegging in January, 2009. Two others were also injured in the clash.
The men, who had gone to the United Arab Emirates for jobs, spent nearly three years in Dubai jails after being sentenced to death in March, 2010. They were later released by the Sharjah court after their relatives paid blood money (the money paid as compensation to the victim's family) amounting to over Rs 5.5 crore which was paid to Khan's family.
As per the Sharia law, a family member of the victim can pardon the accused if the latter pays blood money. Dubai-based hotelier S P Singh Oberoi had led a campaign to save the men from the gallows and get them freed. He collected the money from various sources in India and abroad and then deposited it in the court to reach a compromise with the victim's family.
After the death sentence was pronounced, the Indian government had appointed five lawyers to file an appeal on behalf of the 17 Indians. After giving their consent to accept blood money, Misri Khan's family had refused to accept it and said they wanted revenge.
However, the court and the Indian consulate with the help of Pakistan embassy officials persuaded the family of the deceased and the two injured persons to accept blood money and secured their release.