SNP MP Martin Docherty-Hughes has called out the “utter disregard” being shown as 35-year-old Dumbarton man Jagtar Singh Johal still faces a possible death penalty in India.

Johal was detained after travelling to India for his wedding in 2017 and, three weeks later, was abducted off the street, hooded with a sack and taken into police custody.

He faces the death penalty and claims to have been tortured, including with electric shocks, during his time in prison over his activism and campaigning for Sikh human rights.

Speaking in the Commons, Docherty-Hughes, the MP for West Dunbartonshire, said Johal was facing his “seventh year in arbitrary detention”.

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We previously told how Docherty-Hughes had called on Foreign Secretary David Cameron (below) to secure the release of the 35-year-old with the MP now saying he has not had a response to a letter he sent calling for a meeting. 

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Speaking on Wednesday, the MP said he and the family of Johal had “lost count” of the number of people to hold the foreign secretary role.

“I must say in recent weeks I have never seen such an utter disregard for most likely the most important consular case on the Foreign Secretary’s desk,” he said.

He said Cameron had shown a “willingness” to meet with him and Johal’s family at a meeting of the Foreign Affairs Committee.

However, Docherty-Hughes (below) added: “It is clear for me that the Foreign Secretary in that response may not have been aware of my letter dated November 14 2023 which sought to have a meeting.

The National: MP Martin Docherty-Hughes.

“I have to date had no formal response though unsurprisingly, before PMQs, I and the family held a holding response from the department which replies - requesting a meeting with the Foreign Secretary are being processed.

“I have no doubt that after two months, I will eventually maybe get a formal response from the Foreign Secretary.”

He stressed that “speed is of the essence” and called for clarity on whether or not it was normal for a senior minister to correspond so poorly with an MP “when time is critical”.

Docherty-Hughes also asked if conventions in the House of Commons extended to those in the House of Lords.

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He also added if the Speaker of the House would demand the Foreign Secretary “be brought to the floor of the house” to face MPs.

Tory MP David Davis also said that he was “dissatisfied” with the Foreign Office’s response to the issue and that it was “a matter felt across the floor”.

 The Foreign Office has been contacted for comment.