Indian nurse on death row in Yemen pins hopes on Centre

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The only possibility of any reprieve for Nimisha is if the family of Talal pardons her for blood money — compensation paid by an offender or his kin to the family of the victim — in accordance with the Sharia law and diplomatic intervention…reports Asian Lite News

As the Centre’s mediation being the last resort for Kerala nurse Nimisha Priya, who was awarded death sentence by a Yemeni Court, in connection with the murder of a local citizen five years ago, legality to save her from the foreign land that follows a different set of laws is challenging.

On March 7, a Yemen court had dismissed the appeal of Nimisha Priya in the murder case of Yemeni citizen Talal Abdo Mahdi, in which she, along with another person, is the prime accused.

Advocate Subhash Chandran K.R. representing ‘Save Nimisha Forum’, a collective working for Nimisha’s release, said that a copy of the judgment is yet to be received and the limitation for appeal before the Supreme Judicial Council is 40 days only. If the appeal before the Supreme Judicial Council is dismissed, execution may take place any time as per the Yemeni law.

The only possibility of any reprieve for Nimisha is if the family of Talal pardons her for blood money — compensation paid by an offender or his kin to the family of the victim — in accordance with the Sharia law and diplomatic intervention, he says.

The intervention of the Delhi High Court

On March 14, the Delhi High Court had sought the Central government’s stand on the plea by the ‘Save Nimisha Forum’, seeking direction to the Centre to facilitate negotiations with the family of the victim on behalf of the nurse to save her life by paying the ‘blood money’.

In its response, the Centre said it will institute an appeal before the next appellate forum in Yeman challenging the death penalty awarded to Nimisha Priya and the consul present in Yemen shall extend all cooperation and facilitate the travel of her family.

Centre’s counsel Anurag Ahluwalia informed that the government is providing miscellaneous amounts to the Indian citizen for her daily expenses inside the foreign prison. On the blood money, the Centre’s counsel said it will only be facilitating the travel and will not be involved in the negotiations.

Intervention by politicians

Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan extended the government support to save Nimisha reiterating the Centre’s stand in the High Court. Meanwhile, the family of Nimisha met Kerala Chief Minister Pinaryai Vijayan. The Chief Minister also offered all possible help to bring back the woman, said her family after the meeting.

Idukki MP Dean Kuriakose, in the Lok Sabha, raised the issue and also urged the Ministry of External Affairs to intervene in the matter and immediate release of Nimisha Priya from Yemen Jail.

However, due to the socio-political situation in Yemen, travel to the Western Asian country is not allowed and there is no way for her family or well-wishers to visit Yemen and pay the ‘blood money’ to secure her release.

Case in a nutshell

Nimisha, a nurse from Kerala, had been working in Yemen when travel to and from the country was banned in 2016 due to the Civil War. Her husband and daughter returned to India in 2014, but she couldn’t due to her job.

In 2015, with the help of a Yemeni national Talal Mahdi, she set up a clinic.

Soon, differences cropped up between her and Mahdi and she had alleged abuse, torture by him and taking away her passport, making her trip back to her home state impossible. Mahdi also misrepresented himself as her husband to the Yemeni authorities, due to which she couldn’t get any aid from them, as per her statement.

On July 25, 2017, she injected Talal with sedatives with the aim of sedating him and taking her passport back and fleeing.

But things went awry and he collapsed a while after she administered the sedative. Realising that Mahdi has died, she left the place.

Four days later, the crime surfaced and both were arrested while Nimisha was sentenced to death, the other person was sentenced to life.

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