LONDON/PARIS/NEW DELHI, 3 June 2021 – In violation of the UN call, Christian Michel, a British national, is still being detained in Tihar jail situated in Delhi, after having been unlawfully handed over by the authorities in Dubai to India on 4 December 2018. His life is in danger, especially in the midst of the Covid Pandemic raging in Indian prisons. Urgent call to Boris Johnson in Presence of Christian Michel’s son.
International human rights organisations have raised significant concerns over the erosion of human rights and fundamental freedoms and the total dismantling of the rule of law in India. To address these critically important issues, on 3 June 2021 at 10.00 BST, the Legal Team for Christian Michel will host a press conference on the ruling of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the recent attempts by the Indian authorities to circumvent the rule of law.
Alaric and Alois Michel (Family Members)
François Zimeray (Zimeray & Finelle)
Toby Cadman (Guernica 37)
Aljo Joseph (Attorney for Christian Michel)
THE PRESS CONFERENCE WILL BE HELD FROM 10.00 – 10.45 BST ON ZOOM AND LIVESTREAMED ON FACEBOOK AND YOUTUBE.
The press conference will be held on Zoom. The link is the following: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88382316029?pwd=UUd3R1czVUlyUXJzb0svQXQ4YUNNQT09
Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to register.
On 7 January 2021, Christian Michel wrote a 35-page letter to the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and Home Secretary Priti Patel, calling on the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) to intervene in his case, explaining how his extradition was motivated by political reasons, in that it apparently amounted to a quid pro quo between the UAE and India that coincided with the return of Sheikha bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, daughter of Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. In addition, this letter describes in detail his treatment in Tihar jail, which can merely be defined as torture.
Throughout these years, Christian Michel, whilst detained in one of the worst prisons in India, has been held in squalid conditions as he was subjected to, inter alia, repeated and prolonged interrogations aimed at securing a confession by way of duress on behalf of the CBI, torture and de facto solitary confinement. Most importantly, he has endured all this ordeal without being charged with any criminal offence. This can only lead to one conclusion: this arbitrary detention is politically motivated.
On 26 February 2021, the UN WGAD expressed its grave concerns and delivered Opinion No.88/2020, clearly stating that the process by which Christian Michel was extradited to India did not follow due process, thereby amounting to an unlawful rendition, which represents a flagrant attempt to disregard international protocols that relate to extradition. Thus, the UN WGAD ruled that he is being arbitrarily detained contrary to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, ordering his immediate release.
Unwavering efforts have been made by the Legal Team, who called on the FCDO to take immediate steps to intervene and urged both the Government of India and the UAE to comply with the UN ruling, and to implement the recommendations in order to demonstrate their commitment to the rule of law.
In spite of this, neither India nor the UAE complied with the UN ruling. On the contrary, the Indian authorities have rejected the allegations in its entirety, particularly in relation to the fact that due process was not followed, and reacted by asserting that it has an “independent and vibrant judiciary” and that all is in accordance with the law in terms of the judicial process involved. India made it plain that the UN WGAD is not a judicial body, hence it rejects its opinion since it is not legally binding. The UAE authorities instead, bluntly turned a blind eye to this ruling. Currently, there is a strong probability that Christian Michel will remain in Tihar jail for the foreseeable future, as a result of the blatant failure on behalf of both Governments, India and UAE, to release him in accordance with Opinion No.88/2020.
Christian Michel has been refused bail several times and it is staggering that the CBI are still meeting him in prison, and consistently pressuring him to sign a false confession. He still mentions how the CBI Director threatened him in the following manner: firstly, he would be arrested; secondly, he would be taken to India by way of rendition; thirdly, he would be put in jail for a prolonged period of time, without bail; and fourthly, in the event of being granted bail, the CBI will do everything in their power to make sure he will remain in India for 20 years. Christian is concerned and dismayed by the fourth threat, as he is cognisant of his destiny until he signs the false confession.
Following Christian’s incessant struggle for pursuing freedom, he is still valiantly speaking out about his abuse and the violation of human rights by India and UAE. It is indeed astonishing that the UK Government stated that it is not their business, placing great importance on the trade deal rather than Christian Michel’s life.
Considering all the above human rights breaches, including the utter disregard conveyed by the Indian and the UAE Governments in relation to Opinion No.88/2020, raise alarming questions on, inter alia, the right to life, liberty and security of Christian Michel. His life is indeed in peril and the grave violations of his human rights are indeed an affront to the very essence of human dignity.