DUBAI // Seventeen Indian nationals who murdered a Pakistani man in a bootlegging brawl in Sharjah in 2009 left for India as free men late last night.
The men were convicted and sentenced to death in 2011 for killing Misri Khan. They were pardoned after the payment of Dh3.4 million blood money but had been banned from leaving the country because of outstanding lawsuits.
They finally boarded an Air India flight from Dubai at midnight last night and arrived in New Delhi this morning.
"Everything got cleared only around 4.30pm," said S P Oberoi Singh, a philanthropist who helped to raise the blood money and flew back with the 17. They will drive to their home towns in Punjab and Chandigarh today.
Their freedom was secured at a high price. As well as the blood money, Dh100,000 was awarded by a court to two Pakistani brothers who claimed they were injured in the brawl. They had sued for Dh1.5m. Another claim by the dead man's brother was settled out of court.
In 2011, the Sharjah Court of Appeal commuted the men's sentences to two years' imprisonment. Prosecutors appealed at the Federal Supreme Court, which told the Appeals Court to review only the bootlegging charges. The Sharjah court then sentenced them to six months in prison, which they had already served.