No diplomatic ties with Yemen: Centre to Delhi HC on mother’s plea seeking to save daughter on death row

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Monday asked the Central Government its willingness to allow the mother of a Kerala woman and three others to travel to Yemen to save her daughter who is on death row.

In a special hearing held on December 2, the court had issued a notice to the Centre on the mother’s plea seeking facilitation of her travel to Yemen to negotiate with the victim’s family about paying ‘blood money’ to save her daughter from the gallows.

The plea filed by the mother of Nimisha Priya, an Indian citizen who has been sentenced to death in Yemen for the murder of a Yemeni national, contends that the Centre did not grant permission to her and advised her and other accompanying persons not to go to that country at this juncture.

On Monday, the Centre’s counsel apprised the court that India does not have diplomatic ties with Yemen and it has closed down its Embassy there, and that it would not be desirable for the petitioner to go there.

“The situation in the Middle East is not good. India will not be able to help if anything happens to the petitioner there. We don’t want a ransom demand situation arising there,” the Centre submitted before the Bench of Justice Subramonium Prasad.

On the other hand, the petitioner’s counsel said that some Indians running businesses in Yemen and currently in India are being granted permission to travel there, and they know some who have valid Yemeni visas and they are willing to accompany the woman and negotiate blood money with the victim’s family.

In response, Justice Prasad asked the petitioner to file an affidavit by December 5 providing the details of those willing to travel to Yemen with the woman, and posted the matter for hearing next on December 11.

On December 2, a Bench of Justice Manmeet Pritam Singh Arora was apprised that now the only way to save the daughter’s life is by getting pardon from the family of the victim by paying ‘blood money’.

In an earlier hearing, the Centre’s senior standing counsel had orally apprised the High Court that the Supreme Court of Yemen had dismissed the appeal filed by Priya on November 13.

Priya’s mother believes that the only way to save her daughter from the death penalty is to negotiate with the deceased’s family by offering ‘blood money’. However, she is currently unable to do so due to the travel restrictions.

It is alleged that Priya, who worked as a nurse in Yemen, had injected Talal Abdo Mahdi with sedatives to retrieve her passport, which he had in his possession. She had reportedly suffered abuse and torture at the hands of Mahdi.

Last year, a Coordinate Bench had disposed of a petition requesting the Central Government to facilitate negotiations with the victim’s family to save Priya from the death penalty by paying ‘blood money’ in accordance with Yemeni law. Subsequently, an appeal against the single-judge Bench’s order was dismissed by a Division Bench.


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