THE brother of a Scot who claims to have been tortured in an Indian prison has said the First Minister’s approach to the case “shames” the UK Government.

Gurpreet Singh Johal met with Humza Yousaf on Tuesday to discuss his brother Jagtar’s case.

Jagtar, known as Jaggi, claims to have been tortured in Indian custody and said his detention on terrorism charges is without merit. A UN group has said there is no legal basis for his continued detention

He faces the prospect of execution if he is found guilty but he could wait as long as 40 years to see a court because of backlogs in the Indian criminal justice system. 

Gurpreet has been campaigning for his release since his brother was first imprisoned in 2017.

He said his meeting with the FM was in “painful” contrast to one he had with Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, adding: “The Scottish Government’s position is clear and unequivocal: there is no legal basis for Jagtar’s detention and he should be set free.

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"It shames the UK Government, which has the power to seek his release, but declines to do so, instead making vague statements of concern for his welfare.”

We told previously how Gurpreet has demanded answers from British spies who he believes may have contributed to Jagtar’s arrest and imprisonment.

Jagtar was arrested in Punjab in northern India six years ago and charged with involvement in three murders and the funding of a proscribed Sikh terrorist group.

In a statement following his meeting with the First Minister, Gurpreet said: “I’m grateful that the First Minister took the time to meet me, so soon after getting the job. He’s been following Jagtar’s case for a long time, recognises he is arbitrarily detained and told me he’ll do everything he can to bring my brother home.

“The contrast with my recent meeting with the Foreign Secretary, James Cleverly, was painful.”

The Singh Johal family, from Dumbarton, are being supported by the not-for-profit organisation Reprieve, which fights for the victims of international human rights violations.

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Maya Foa, director of Reprieve, said: “There is no excuse for the UK Government’s inaction. Indian prosecutors have had more than five years to come up with a case against Jagtar and have produced no credible evidence.

“Trials brought in these courts routinely take decades to resolve, due to endless delays. A young British man is being robbed of his youth, on trumped-up charges, and faces being sentenced to death if Ministers will not do what it takes to bring him home.”

Cleverly is said to have raised Jagtar's case with his Indian counterpart at a meeting on March 1 and the Foreign Office said it has raised concerns about his imprisonment with the Indian Government on more than 100 occasions. 

A Foreign Office spokesperson said: "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.”