Rights group: UAE must investigate abuse claims

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — An international rights group has urged authorities in the United Arab Emirates to investigate claims of police torture against 17 Indian men convicted of murder in a suspected turf war among alcohol smugglers.

Amnesty International cited allegations by an Indian rights group of abuses carried out over nine days before the suspects offered confessions for the stabbing death of a Pakistan man in January. The men were sentenced to death last month in Sharjah, one of the seven emirates that comprise the UAE.

UAE authorities did not immediately respond Saturday to Amnesty's appeal, which was issued a day earlier.

The Indian group, Lawyers For Human Rights International, claims the men received electric shocks and beatings and were deprived of sleep. The right group also alleged police forced the suspects to re-enact the alleged killing and presented the video as genuine evidence.

The slaying is believed to be linked to illicit liquor rings in Sharjah, a conservative emirate north of Dubai where alcohol is banned. The case also has raised tensions between the UAE and India, which has hundreds of thousands of workers in the Gulf nation.

The sentence is under automatic appeal. The next hearing is scheduled for May 19.