2 Dec 2023

Will Kerala woman be able to meet her nurse daughter Nimisha Priya sentenced to death in Yemen?

An Indian nurse named Nimisha Priya belonging to Kerala is currently incarcerated in Yemen on charges of murder. In an effort to visit her daughter, Nimisha's mother Prema Kumari has approached the Delhi High Court, seeking permission to travel to Yemen. 

The court has instructed the Ministry of External Affairs to evaluate the mother's request. However, the ministry has expressed concerns about the security situation in Yemen, stating that Indian diplomats are currently not in the region.

Indian Embassy has been relocated from Yemen

The Ministry of External Affairs clarified that due to the ongoing civil war in Yemen, the Indian Embassy has been relocated to Djibouti. Additionally, formal relations with the new administration in the capital, Sanaa, are nonexistent. 

Apprehensions about the mother's safety

As a result, diplomatic representation is unavailable, raising apprehensions about the mother's safety and care during her visit. In consideration of these factors, the ministry has deemed it unsafe for her to travel to Yemen.

Nimisha Priya, a resident of Kerala, was convicted of murdering her business partner, Talal Abdo Mehdi, in 2017. She allegedly administered a fatal anesthetic injection to Talal. Subsequently, she was sentenced to death, and her appeal in the Supreme Court was rejected.

Nimisha's mother's intent in visiting Yemen is to settle the blood money and save her daughter's life by compensating the family of the deceased. Nimisha had killed Talal because he possessed her passport, and she aimed to retrieve it and return to India.

Nimisha's husband and daughter returned to India in 2014

The background of the case reveals that Nimisha had been in Yemen for about 12 years, and her husband and daughter returned to India in 2014. A dispute arose between Nimisha and Talal, leading to him withholding her passport. 

Despite her complaints to Yemeni authorities, they dismissed it as a domestic matter. In a desperate attempt to reclaim her passport, Nimisha administered the fatal injection to Talal, disposing of his body with the assistance of another person. The incident came to light four days later, resulting in Nimisha's arrest, subsequent death sentence, and her associate receiving a life sentence. The complex legal situation has persisted since then.

'We have to think about the next course of action'

Vice-chairperson of the Save Nimisha Priya International Action Council and Delhi-based lawyer Deepa Joseph, who was also planning to go to Yemen along with her family, said that without the Centre’s support, they cannot engage in negotiations. “We have to think about the next course of action. In Yemen, they have formed an execution committee. But, if the Indian government remains involved, we would get more time for negotiations,” she said.

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