THE UK Government has been urged to escalate efforts to secure the release of a Dumbarton man facing the death penalty in India.

Earlier this week it was revealed that Jagtar Singh Johal has been formally charged with conspiracy to commit murder.

He has been has been incarcerated without trial in the country for almost five years after he was arrested at his wedding in November 2017.

Mr Johal was accused of helping to fund a Sihk-on-Hindu assassination plot, something he and his family strongly deny.

West Dunbartonshire’s MP Martin Docherty-Hughes, described his constituent’s case as a "clear travesty of justice".

In May, an investigation by the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention ruled that there was no legal basis for Jagtar’s detention in India, citing multiple violations of his human rights.

International human rights charities including Reprieve and Redress have expressed concerns about Jagtar’s "torture and mistreatment" in India.

The charities say that the circumstances of his arrest and imprisonment amount to arbitrary detention, which was echoed by Boris Johnson earlier this month.

Dumbarton and Vale of Leven Reporter: West Dunbartonshire's MP Martin Docherty-Hughes met with Foreign Secretary Liz Truss last month.West Dunbartonshire's MP Martin Docherty-Hughes met with Foreign Secretary Liz Truss last month.

Martin Docherty-Hughes met last month with Foreign Secretary Liz Truss to raise Jagtar’s case, and has pledged to continue pressing the UK Government to secure ‘justice for Jaggi’.

Following news this week that Mr Johal had been formally charged, Mr Docherty-Hughes said: "In the almost five years that I have been supporting Jagtar's family they have always maintained his innocence. 

"It's incredible that it's taken 1727 days to get to the point we're at, given the serious concerns about Jagtar's torture, mistreatment, and coerced confession whilst imprisoned in India.

"The UN's expert panel has been clear that there is no legal basis for Jagtar's detention.

"I raised this with the Foreign Secretary Liz Truss last month and will continue pressing the government to act.

"The fact that my constituent faces the death penalty should focus minds in the UK Foreign Office that business as usual with the Indian government cannot continue until Jagtar is released, in line with its own pronouncements on arbitrary detention cases.

"Continuing negotiations on a Free Trade Deal at this moment is simply grotesque.

"Jaggi needs to be back with his family in Dumbarton, and I can only hope for the continued good name of the Indian legal system and democratic process that this clear travesty of justice is put right: I’ll certainly be making sure that the UK government is in no doubt about this."

A UK Government spokesperson said: “We consistently raise our concerns about Mr Johal's case with the Government of India, including his allegations of torture and mistreatment and his right to a fair trial.”