Consular, Passport and Visa Division
Indians Imprisoned Abroad
Q: My relative has been arrested by the police in that country and has been jailed. Can the Indian government do anything to help in his release?
As soon as the information about detention/arrest of an Indian national is received by the Indian Embassy/Consulate, they get in touch with the local Foreign Office and other concerned local authorities to get consular access to the detained/arrested Indian national and ensure his/her welfare. In some countries where pro bono lawyers are available, the Embassy arranges such legal assistance for Indian prisoners. The Embassy also supports initial legal assistance to distressed Indian nationals in deserving cases. Other assistance provided by us includes requesting local authorities for speedy trials, seeking remission of sentence, providing advice and guidance in legal and other matters, ensuring fair and humane treatment in foreign jails, issue of emergency certificates and repatriation to India of those who are released. In some countries, our Mission also requests the local government for grant of amnesty to the arrested Indians and if any mercy petition for remission of sentences is received from the family members of the Indian prisoners, the Mission forwards them to the local authorities for consideration.
India has signed Treaties for Transfer of Sentenced Persons with 35 countries, under which Indian prisoners can be brought back to India from some of these countries (subject to the concurrence of both countries and also the prisoner), to serve the remainder of their sentences. This benefit is, however, not available to prisoners awarded a death sentence.
Q: My relative who was in prison has completed his sentence. But he has not been released. What help can we get?
Please approach the relevant Indian Embassy/Consulate with the details. Wherever possible, the Embassy can provide legal assistance to compete the necessary paperwork for your release and repatriation after completion of your sentence. They can alsohelp by issuing necessary travel documents or emergency certificates and provide support for his repatriation to India.
Q: What action does the Indian Embassy/Consulate take to care for the welfare of Indian nationals in prisons in countries in the Middle East?
The Indian Embassy takes all steps possible under local laws and as applicable for a diplomatic mission, to protect the rights of Indians in foreign jails. These include:
- regular visits to jails;
- provision of Arabic-speaking Interpreters to visit the jails to assist the Indians;
- provision of initial legal assistance with the help of Arabic-knowing experts, well-versed in local laws;
- regular interaction with local police and jail authorities to provide assistance to Indians in jail;
- taking up their cases with local authorities through diplomatic channels;
- fully utilizing the services of Embassy-registered volunteers from the Indian community to help the inmates;
- take steps to protect the inmates and their families from touts and agents who try to exploit them by offering illegal legal assistance, and conducting regular investigation into the affairs of such touts who try to exploit Indians in jails;
- providing travel documents, including Emergency Certificates for expeditious travel of those who have completed their sentence; and
- providing tickets to deserving cases to avoid any delay in their departure.