Detained man's family asks British PM for help

The son of a British man held in India - in a case linked with a Dubai princess who claims she was kidnapped - has appealed to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson for help.

Arms dealer Christian Michel (right), 59, has been detained in India since December 2018 after being extradited from the United Arab Emirates on charges of bribing and conspiring with Indian officials over a major helicopter deal.

India has dismissed calls by United Nations rights experts for him to be freed, rejecting suggestions that his detention had been politically motivated and without any legal basis.

The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) said Mr Michel's imprisonment lacked a legal basis.

And it raised concerns that his extradition "was a de facto swop" for India's capture and return of an unnamed high-profile detainee to Dubai in March 2018.

Mr Michel's 26-year-old son Alaric welcomed the comments by the UN panel and told Sky News he hoped the British Prime Minister would now intervene.

"I hope he will take into consideration that he (Mr Michel) is a UK citizen," said Mr Alaric.

His father is being held "in some of the worst conditions" and the family is concerned about his health, Mr Alaric added.

The detention of Mr Michel has suspected links to Sheikha Latifa, the daughter of Dubai's ruler Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Al-Maktoum.

She was reportedly captured by Indian commandos at sea in 2018 after trying to flee the United Arab Emirates.

In videos secretly sent to friends, she has said that she was abducted by her family.

Her relatives have denied the allegation, insisting she is being cared for at home.

Mr Johnson himself expressed concern about the videos last week.

Sky News acquired a video of Mr Michel - filmed while he was in detention in Dubai - in which he links his pending extradition to princess Latifa's case.

"In 2018, everything changed. An event happened in the Indian Ocean which completely changed my life and the proceedings that I was under," he said.

"So now I'm sitting in a jail in Dubai facing extradition.

"None of this would even concern me, but for a number of meetings that took place in July, after the return of Latifa."

Mr Michel was working in the UAE as a middleman and consultant for a subsidiary of the Anglo-Italian firm AgustaWestland, itself a subsidiary of aerospace and defence group Finmeccanica.

He was accused of arranging kickbacks to Indian officials to secure a deal to supply 12 helicopters in 2010.

India cancelled the deal in January 2014 amid allegations the firm paid bribes to win the US$677 million ($900 million) contract.

Indian investigators charged Mr Michel in 2017, when he was working in the UAE, with arranging US$52 million as kickbacks.

India's foreign ministry last Saturday rejected the WGAD assessment and accused the expert group of bias, accusing it of having an "inaccurate understanding of the country's criminal justice system".

The ministry said that Mr Michel's extradition was permitted under a treaty between India and UAE.

"The arrest and subsequent custody were done as per the due process of law and cannot be considered arbitrary on any grounds," it said.

The ministry added that Mr Michel has been given all legal rights.

It did not directly comment, however, on allegations his extradition was part of a "de facto exchange" for princess Latifa.



அதற்குள்ளாகவா? இந்தச் செய்திகளையும் படிக்கலாமே!

இந்தச் செய்திகளையும் படிக்கலாமே!