Two sides debated over the exchange rate between Pakistani rupees and UAE dirhams in negotiations to save lives of 17 death row Indians.
Blood money negotiations encounter exchange rate confusion
DUBAI // Tension mounted yesterday at the Sharjah Appeals court when a securely locked blue bag full of millions of dirhams in blood money was produced.
Intense negotiations took place between the Pakistani family of a murder victim and representatives of the men convicted of killing him.
The hearing, which lasted for more than 30 minutes, saw the Indian hotelier and philanthropist SP Singh produce the bag, which contained the remainder of the nearly Dh3.4 million payment to be used in exchange for waiving the death penalty.
There was some confusion about the exchange-rate in dirhams, as calculated against Pakistani rupees.
Judge Abdullah Yousef Al Shamsi ordered the parties to sit down and calculate the exact amount.
The 17 convicted men watched negotiations nervously.
Beside them, lawyers, journalists and representatives from the Punjabi and Pakistani communities looked on anxiously as wrangling continued over the final amount and the currency exchange rates.
"We were calculating the blood money as per the Pakistani exchange rate," said Mohammed Ramzan, the representative of the victim Misri Nazir Khan's family.
"But he [SP Singh] had calculated as per current rates, and the amount was falling a bit short," he said after the hearing.
The judge asked Mr Ramzan one last time if the family was willing to accept the blood money in exchange for waiving the death penalty.
After that, the blue bag with more than Dh3 million in cash was deposited with the court's treasury.
* Preeti Kannan