Information from the Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) reveals that as many as 6,804 Indian citizens, to be precise are languishing in the jails of 72 countries across the globe. Over 41% of the total inmates is imprisoned in the jails of Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates (UAE) alone. At least 49 Indians have died in prisons of different countries since 2013.
According to the data available, the highest number of Indian prisoners –1,696 –is in the jails of Saudi Arabia. It is followed by the UAE and Nepal which houses 1,143 and 859 prisoners of Indian-origin respectively.
The other nations that have a maximum number of Indians in jails are Kuwait with 434, Malaysia and the UK with 356 prisoners each. 230 Indians are imprisoned in Pakistan, and the USA has jailed 188 Indians, while China has imprisoned 161 Indians. The number of Indians lodged in France is 48, Germany 59, the Russian Federation 6, Sri Lanka 32, Spain 52 and South Africa 13. Bangladesh has detained 137, Qatar jailed 129, Singapore has 115, Oman has 113 and Bahrain has 107.
Countries with the lowest number of Indian prisoners are Japan with 7, Denmark 8, Kenya 5, Egypt 3, Portugal 4, and Uzbekistan, Armenia, Fiji, Georgia, Hungary, Malta, Niger and Senegal have one Indian each in their jails. Indians are also lodged in jails in various other countries including Australia, Cyprus, Egypt, Germany, Denmark Greece and Mauritius.
The Information was provided by the Ministry of External Affairs to a Jammu-based RTI activist Raman Sharma in response to his online Right-to-information (RTI) application.
As per figures provided by the ministry, there are about 6,101 Indian prisoners in foreign jails for crimes such as violation of immigration/visa rules, overstay, illegal entry, robbery, non-possession of valid travel document and valid visa/permit. Consumption of alcohol is the reason for arrest of Indians in those countries that have prohibition. Some Indians are also jailed for drug trafficking, theft and murder. These prisoners mainly include defense personnel, fishermen and other Indian citizens.
The Minister said Indian Missions always strive to respond promptly to appeals by Indians in distress.