Jagtar Singh Johal: Brother of imprisoned Briton tells Lord Cameron 'his life is in your hands'

12 February 2024, 12:56 | Updated: 12 February 2024, 15:18

The brother of a British man who has been held in an Indian prison for more than six years has told Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron "his life is in your hands".

Jagtar Singh Johal from Dumbarton, Scotland, was in Punjab, northern India, for his wedding in 2017 when his family said he was arrested and bundled into an unmarked car.

He is said to have been tortured, including with electric shocks, and faces the death penalty as a result of his campaigning for Sikh rights.

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Mr Johal's family have continually urged the British government to help secure his release and, after a meeting with Lord Cameron on Monday, Mr Johal's brother has said there is "hope" that the former prime minister can be the one to bring him back to the UK.

When asked what he said to Lord Cameron during the meeting, Gurpreet Singh Johal told Sky News: "I have reiterated to him that my brother's life's in your hands, and if he doesn't do anything then my brother could be in there a long time.

"Jagtar is also facing the death penalty, which will be on the foreign secretary, so I have put it on him so he understands the urgency."

Mr Johal added: "The family requires answers, six years on, six foreign secretaries, but there is hope on my side that an ex-prime minister who was in charge of this country can use his skills to bring my brother back home.

"The UK government has said it is looking for a resolution, this should be that my British-born-and-bred brother should be brought back to his family in the UK where he can continue his life."

'No promises'

It comes as Lord Cameron vowed to review the government's involvement in Mr Johal's case to "make sure we are doing the right thing".

Speaking after the meeting with the family, he said: "I wanted to meet there with the family and hear from them what they think. And I want to really stress, as an incoming foreign secretary, you don't just accept what the government has said up to now, you really look at it, really ask the questions."

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Making "absolutely no promises" Lord Cameron said he would look through all the paperwork again, urging the Indian government to "speed up this case".

"I am going to take into account what they have said and see whether there is a different approach we should be taking," Lord Cameron told reporters.

"I am going to re-examine everything and make sure we are doing the right thing.

"That's what you should always do, whether it is someone who has been taken hostage, whether it is someone who is in prison."

Revealing more about his brother's imprisonment, Mr Johal said the last time the family had any contact was on 18 October, the date of the imprisoned blogger's wedding anniversary.

"We are supposed to have video calls with Jagtar but those are not being allowed by Indian authorities," he said.

"He is supposed to have at least a monthly phone call with the family - that's not been allowed either. Instead, there is always an excuse for them not happening."