THE brother of Jagtar Singh Johal has requested a meeting with the head of MI6 on his sibling’s birthday.

Gurpreet Singh Johal, from Glasgow, has accused UK spooks of assisting in the sting which initially saw his brother put behind bars in India in 2017.

Jagtar, also known as Jaggi, who previously lived with his family in Dumbarton, has claimed he has been tortured during his arbitrary detention.

READ MORE: Partner of Nicola Bulley visits spot where police believe she fell into river

Ahead of his brother’s birthday today (Thursday February 9), Gurpreet wrote an open letter to Richard Moore, the head of the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) to request a meeting to “talk about how we clear up the mess that’s been created and bring my brother back”.

He said Moore had previously declined an invitation to meet and expressed frustration with how successive foreign secretaries have dealt with his case.

Jagtar – who turns 36 on Thursday – was arrested in Punjab in northern India and charged with involvement in three murders and the funding of a proscribed Sikh terrorist group.

The National:

'I feel I've failed my brother' 

Jagtar has denied any wrongdoing and his family have argued that he will not receive a fair trial.  

Gurpreet said he woke up every morning “feeling like I have failed Jagtar” and has accused MI6 of passing information to Indian authorities which resulted in his arrest.

Reprieve, the organisation assisting the family, said last year it believed information contained in an anonymised report detailing a British subject who had been arrested in the Punjab following a UK spy agency tipping off their Indian counterparts, and who later claimed to have been tortured in prison, related to Jagtar. 

Gurpreet's emotional plea to UK spy boss 

Speaking ahead of his brother’s birthday, Gurpreet said: “Birthdays were a big deal when Jagtar and I were kids. Our cousins would come over, our mum would cook a special meal and there was always a cake - a big family celebration.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon responds to popularity rating drop amid trans prisoner row

“As adults, after our mum passed away, my wife did the cooking. Jagtar's favourite dish was chilli paneer. I remember he used to joke with my eldest son that nobody else understood and enjoyed food the way the two of them did.

The National:

“Today is the sixth birthday Jagtar will be spending in prison in India. He was recently moved from one jail to another, so I don't know if his cellmates even know it's his birthday.

“We hardly ever get to speak to him - the one video call we had last year was special because he at least got to say hello to my kids. I miss him all the time but especially today.

“I try not to get angry about how the UK Government has let him down but the fact is, they could bring him home if they wanted to. They know there's no legal basis for his imprisonment but refuse to act.

"When I met the Foreign Secretary last week it felt like a giant step backwards.

READ MORE: DC Thomson staff 'facing redundancies as bosses try to plug £10m blackhole'

“My brother is British. He's in prison for no reason for five years now. He could be sentenced to death. And they just don't care."

In his letter to Moore, which has attracted nearly 8000 signatures at time of writing, added: “I’m calling on you to act because I understand that MI6 may have played a role in Jagtar’s detention and torture by providing information about him to the Indian authorities, putting him on the radar of the Punjab Police.

"I am sure as the director of MI6 you take very seriously any possibility your organisation might be involved in the torture of a British citizen. 

“We both have obligations here, you as the person charged with the British public’s safety, and me as Jagtar’s brother. He will only be safe when he is back home with his wife and our family in Dumbarton.”

'Extremely concerning evidence' 

The only foreign secretary to say Jagtar was arbitrarily imprisoned since his arrest was Boris Johnson, while Reprieve said current officeholder James Cleverly would not commit to seeking his release.

The National:

Dan Dolan, Reprieve’s director of advocacy, said: “The UK intelligence services are meant to protect us. The evidence that they may have provided a tip-off to their Indian counterparts that led to a young British man being snatched off the street in front of his wife and then tortured with electricity is extremely concerning.

“For five years, the UK Government has known that Jagtar was tortured, that he signed his supposed confession to make the pain stop, and that the charges against him are manufactured and politically motivated.

"The Foreign Secretary is the latest minister to pretend that Jagtar can have a fair trial in India, when prosecutors have presented no credible evidence against him despite hundreds of pre-trial hearings.

“The bottom line is that the only way to save Jagtar from his indefinite detention and a possible death sentence is for the UK Government to seek his release.”

A Foreign Office spokesperson said: “We cannot comment on these allegations against the UK Government as they are the subject of ongoing legal proceedings.

“We have consistently raised our concerns about Mr Johal’s case directly with the Government of India, including his allegations of torture and his right to a fair trial - we are committed to doing what we can to assist him.

“The UK strongly opposes the death penalty in all circumstances as a matter of principle and we will continue to make this clear to the Government of India.”