Almost 8,000 Indians Lodged in Jails Abroad
With 2,181 Indians in prisons, Saudi Arabia has the highest number of Indian nationals lodged in jails.
There are 7,850 Indians in jails abroad, and the highest number of Indians is in Saudi Arabia prisons, Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh said on March 7 in Lok Sabha.
There are 2,181 Indians in Saudi Arabia prisons, Singh said in a written reply. Strong privacy laws in many countries is one of the reasons why local authorities don’t share information about prisoners unless the particular person gives consent to disclosure of the information.
“As per the information available with the ministry, the number of Indian prisoners in foreign jails is 7,850 and the number of Indians who have completed their jail terms is 360 as of 28.02.2018,” Singh said.
As many as 1,628 Indians are lodged in the United Arab Emirates jails, making up the highest number after Saudi Arabia. Singh added that 63 Indian prisoners were repatriated from foreign prisons because of the enactment of the Repatriation of Prisoners Act in 2003, as a result of which 170 applications for repatriation were submitted.
In response to a separate written question about Indian workers missing in Mosul, Iraq, Singh said that the government has completed the DNA testing of the families of 39 Indian workers that are missing since June 2014.
“DNA samples, as received from our respective state governments, have been forwarded to the Iraqi authorities for inclusion in their database for matching with the DNA from the human remains being retrieved by them from mass graves. The report of the test is awaited,” the minister added, according to the Press Trust of India.
In 2017, 7,448 Indians were in prisons across 81 countries, according to Minister of State for External Affairs MJ Akbar on July 19, 2017, who responded in a written response in the Lok Sabha. In 2017, Saudi Arabia was at the top of the list with 2,046 Indians jailed, followed by the United Arab Emirates (1,376), Nepal (852), Kuwait (506), and Pakistan (468). The top five countries account for 70 per cent of Indians jailed abroad.
“The United States of America, Canada, Australia and many countries in Europe do not share
information about Indian nationals in their prisons due to the strict provisions of privacy laws,” Akbar had told the Lok Sabha at the time.
In August 2015, the Indian government said that 7,772 Indians were in jails in 77 countries. There were 3,842 Indians jailed in the Middle East and most of them were blue collar workers.