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Page last updated at 18:15 GMT, Friday, 23 April 2010 19:15 UK

Amnesty International says UAE abused Indian prisoners

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Rights group Amnesty International has condemned authorities in the United Arab Emirates over the alleged torture and forced confession of 17 Indians.

They were sentenced to death last month for killing a Pakistani man.

Amnesty says the men were taken to the scene of the killing in the emirate of Sharjah and forced to re-enact it.

It says they were made to beat a police officer posing as the dead man a month after their arrest - an act filmed and presented as genuine evidence.

There has so far been no comment so far on the allegations from the UAE authorities.

'Faked video'

Citing evidence produced by Indian rights group Lawyers For Human Rights International (LFHRI), Amnesty said that the 17 men were beaten with clubs, given electric shocks, deprived of sleep and forced to stand on one leg for prolonged periods.

"This is a mockery of justice. These 17 men have been tortured, forced to confess and sentenced to death based on a faked video," Amnesty's deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa, Hassiba Hadj Sharaoui said.

"Amnesty International is calling on the UAE authorities to investigate the allegations of torture and abuse and to ensure the 17 men receive a fair trial on appeal," the group said in a statement.

The murder allegedly took place after a dispute over control of an illegal alcohol business.

About 50 people were involved in the fatal attack in which the Pakistani man was stabbed repeatedly.

Correspondents said gang violence connected to illicit alcohol is on the increase in the UAE, where the sale of such drink is controlled.

Reports said that it could be the highest number of death sentences handed down at one time in the Emirates.

The 17 have appealed and are due to reappear in court on 19 May.



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