Chandigarh: Seventeen Indians, 16 of them from Punjab, who were on a death row in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) since 2010 on charges of murdering a Pakistani national, have been freed by a Sharjah court and will return home today.
The men were allowed to be freed after 'blood money' worth nearly Rs.5 crore was paid to the family of the victim Misri Khan.
They had been sentenced to death by a Shariat court in Sharjah March 2010. They were convicted of murdering Misri Khan and injuring three others January 2009, following a fight over illegal liquor business. Two other Pakistanis were injured in the clash which occurred in Al Sajaa area of Sharjah.
The accused include 16 from Punjab and one from Haryana. All were working in UAE as labourers.
Dubai-based Indian hotelier SP Singh Oberoi, who led the campaign and collected money through charity and well-wishers to secure the release of the Indian men, said that the freed men will reach India today.
After their arrival, the men are likely to offer prayers at the Golden Temple in Amritsar before heading to their homes.
The Indian men had all along maintained that they were not involved in the murder of the Pakistani national and that they had been framed.