The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) said that Christian Michel, who has been held in India since December 2018 after being extradited from the United Arab Emirates, should immediately be released. The WGAD, which operates under the UN high commissioner for Human rights has stated so because Michel’s over two years of detention in India has been ‘arbitrary’.
The WGAD has also taken cognizance of the submission by Michel’s lawyers that the UAE had handed over Michel as a part of a ‘swap deal’ in exchange for Princess Latifa.
India has rejected this opinion based on the findings of UN experts and has described their conclusions to be biased and contrary to facts. Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Anurag Srivastava stated that-
“The extradition was done entirely in accordance with the provisions of the Extradition Treaty signed between two sovereign States. The arrest and subsequent custody were done as per the due process of law and cannot be considered arbitrary on any grounds,”
He went ahead and clarified that at no point was the accused denied his rights to legal counsel or even a fair hearing. The authorities placed no restrictions on consular access and the aforementioned has been treated at par with all the other detainees.
Christian Michel is the alleged middleman in the Rs. 3,600 core AugustaWestland VVIP helicopter deal. Both the ED (Enforcement Directorate) and CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) is probing the case.