Death row to acquittal - Support Momin, Jaikam and Sajid | Milaap
Death row to acquittal - Support Momin, Jaikam and Sajid
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    Momin-Jaikam-Sajid

    from Bulandshahr, Uttar Pradesh

18th December 2021, Momin, Jaikam and Sajid walked out of Agra prison after being acquitted by the Supreme Court. They had spent 8 years in prison, including 6 on death row.

January 2014, Momin Khan’s five children were studying in English medium schools in Bulandshahr. His youngest child was 3 years old and his wife was 6 months pregnant with their seventh child. He ran a family-owned brick kiln. His paternal cousin, Jaikam was a Hakim who sold traditional medicines in the village. He was saving up each penny from his small business to get his younger daughter and son married. His eldest son, Sajid, was newly married and had been employed as a welder, painter, and farm labourer in various cities.
But their lives changed overnight, in unimaginable ways. On 23rd January 2014, Momin’s parents, brother and his wife, their 8-year-old and a 15-year-old niece were found murdered in their house. Momin, his wife Nazra, Jaikam and Sajid were soon arrested by the police based on the witness statement by Momin’s brother.

After their arrest, the families found themselves in a dark place.
Only Allah knows how we are living this life. We are burning away like dry wood on fire.” ~ Hasmatia Khan, wife of Jaikam

Their hard-earned savings ran out quickly, trying to secure legal representation to prove their innocence. With their parents in prison, Momin’s children (who were only in their teens) had to drop out of school and started working in a factory and undertake menial jobs like collecting scrap to support themselves and fight the case. It became impossible for Jaikam and Sajid’s family to live and work in the village after the arrests - people had refused to buy from or sell to their medical shop, labeling them as a ‘family of murderers’. The family was forced to sell the trees they had grown in their courtyard to meet the expenditure for regular mulaqaats (prison visits) but it was just not enough. In four years from 2014 till 2018, Momin’s children were able to meet him only twice.

The Trial Court sentenced all four of them to death in 2016. The Allahabad High Court confirmed the death sentence awarded to the three men, while Nazra was acquitted owing to lack of evidence.
 
“I have seen hell, I had lost all hope that I would ever come out alive.” ~ Momin about his time on death row.

Acquittal by Supreme Court and what stands ahead for them: how your contribution shall be utilised

Project 39A provided pro-bono private legal representation to the men at the Supreme Court. In December 2021, the Supreme Court of India acquitted Momin, Sajid, and Jaikam. The Court found that the conviction and death sentence imposed on them was totally unsustainable in law. The Supreme Court noted, “…we are at pains to observe the manner in which the present case has been dealt with by the trial court as well as by the High Court, particularly, when the trial court awarded death penalty to the accused and the High Court confirmed it.”

Released from prison, on his first day at home, Momin came to know that his 16-year-old son Tawheed passed away a year before. Jaikam could not attend his daughter’s wedding and Sajid’s newlywed wife had to go back to her parents.

Momin, Jaikam and Sajid are now finding ways to clear the debts that have more than doubled over the last 8 years of their incarceration. Momin hopes to work to secure his family’s future. He wants to start a textile business with his wife and children in Bulandshahr. Having spent eight years away, a family business will also ensure he gets to spend enough time with his children. Sajid plans on building a welding workshop and eventually hopes to build a small house of his own. Jaikam, now in his seventies was diagnosed with tuberculosis in prison and his health has been severely impacted by the incarceration. He hopes to get treated and make up for the time spent in prison by being with his family.
 
Help Momin, Sajid, and Jaikam rebuild their lives and secure a future for their families who have suffered this injustice with them.

Relevant Links: NDTV, Times of India 



Project 39A is a litigation and research centre that is formally a part of National Law University, Delhi. For any queries, please write to p39a@nludelhi.ac.in

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