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UN expert panel seeks release of Agusta case accused Christian Michel

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The findings of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD), which operates under the office of the UN high commissioner for human rights, released its findings in Michel’s case late on Friday in Geneva.

By HT Correspondent, SNN, New Delhi

PUBLISHED ON MAR 14, 2021 02:08 AM IST

A panel of UN experts has called on the Indian government to immediately release Christian Michel, the alleged middleman in the AgustaWestland VVIP helicopter deal, saying that his detention was “arbitrary” and violates the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The findings of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD), which operates under the office of the UN high commissioner for human rights, released its findings in Michel’s case late on Friday in Geneva.

Michel, a British national, has been held in India since December 2018 after being extradited from the United Arab Emirates. Criticising the handling of Michel’s case by the governments of the UAE and India, the report said both countries should “accord him an enforceable right to compensation and other reparations, in accordance with international law”.

Even before the formal release of the report, the external affairs ministry last month rejected the group’s reported findings and said the conclusions were based on “limited information, biased allegations from an unidentified source and on an inaccurate understanding of India’s criminal justice system”.

There was no immediate response from Indian officials to the report. The WGAD said: “In the current context of the global Covid-19 pandemic and the threat that it poses in places of detention, the Working Group calls upon the Government of India to take urgent action to ensure the immediate release of Mr Michel.” It concluded that Michel’s detention violated both the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and referred his case to the UN.

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