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Jagtar Singh Johal case: UK spy agencies accused of tip-off that led to torture

By Frank Gardner
BBC security correspondent

  • Published
    1 hour ago

UK intelligence agencies are accused of tipping off Indian authorities about a British national before his abduction and alleged torture by Punjab police.

Jagtar Singh Johal, from Dumbarton, was in India in 2017 when his family say he was forced into an unmarked car.

He says he was then tortured over days, including with electrocution. He has remained in detention since then.

Successive British prime ministers have raised his case but India's government denies he was tortured or mistreated.

In May, Mr Johal was formally charged with conspiracy to commit murder and being a member of a terrorist gang. He will be presented with a full list of the charges against him next month and faces a possible death penalty.

Now the human rights group Reprieve has shown the BBC documentation that it says is compelling evidence that his arrest followed a tip-off from British intelligence.

Reprieve 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.

"In the course of an investigation", says the Investigatory Powers Commissioner's Office (IPCO) report, "MI5 passed intelligence to a liaison partner via the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6).

"The subject of the intelligence was arrested by the liaison partner in their country. The individual told the British Consular Official that he had been tortured."

Mr Johal is not named in the report, but Reprieve's investigators are adamant the facts match his case due to the dates concerned, the lobbying by British prime ministers and supporting evidence detailed in the Indian press.

In 2017, the Hindustan Times reported that Mr Johal had "come under the scanner" after "a source in the UK" provided the Punjab police with "vague information" about a key man, "Johal".


The Indian authorities accuse Mr Johal of involvement in murders they claim are related to Sikh nationalism, though he denies any wrongdoing.....

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