Delhi HC gives Centre a week to decide on Kerala mother’s plea for permission to travel to Yemen to save daughter on death row

Nimisha Priya was convicted of killing a man after she injected him with sedatives to get her passport from his possession.


Published Nov 16, 2023 | 8:18 PM Updated Nov 16, 2023 | 8:18 PM

Delhi High Court

The Delhi High Court asked the Union government on Thursday, 16 November, to take a decision within a week on a request to travel to Yemen from the mother of a Kerala woman who is on death row there for the murder of a Yemeni national.

The lawyer for the Union government informed the court that the top court in Yemen on 13 November dismissed the appeal of Nimisha Priya, who was working as a nurse in the West Asian country, against her sentence.

Priya has been convicted of murdering Talal Abdo Mahdi, who died in July 2017 after she injected him with sedatives in order to get her passport from his possession.

It was stated that Priya injected him with sedatives so that she could take her passport from him while he was unconscious. However, he died of an overdose.

Related: Delhi HC seeks Centre’s response on woman’s plea to travel to Yemen

To negotiate blood money

Priya’s mother moved the high court earlier this year, seeking permission to travel to Yemen in spite of a travel ban for Indian nationals to that country, and negotiate the “blood money” to save her daughter.

Blood money refers to the compensation paid by an offender or his kin to the family of the victim.

On Thursday, the Union government’s lawyer said that, according to a notification issued recently, the travel ban may be relaxed and Indian nationals may be allowed to travel to Yemen for specific reasons and durations.

“In view of the representation, let the present petition be treated as a representation. Respondent is directed to decide the representation within one week from today,” Justice Subramonium Prasad ordered.

The petitioner, represented by lawyer Subash Chandran KR, had told the court earlier that the only way to save her daughter from the gallows was to negotiate with the deceased’s family by paying blood money for which she has to travel to Yemen but due to the travel ban, she is unable to go there.

Also read: Kerala HC denies bail to 12 sentenced for beating tribal man to death

Sought diplomatic interventions

The “Save Nimisha Priya International Action Council” approached the high court last year, seeking a direction to the Centre to “facilitate diplomatic interventions as well as negotiations with the family of the victim on behalf of Nimisha Priya to save her life by paying blood money in accordance with the law of the land in a time-bound manner”.

The high court had earlier refused to direct the Centre to negotiate the payment of blood money to save the woman, but asked it to pursue the legal remedies against the conviction in Yemen.

In the earlier petition, it was alleged that Mahdi had forged documents to show that he was married to Priya and had subjected her to abuse and torture.

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