An appeal has been filed in the Delhi High Court seeking diplomatic intervention to save a Kerala woman who is on death row in Yemen for the murder of a Yemeni national.

The plea by an organisation has also sought direction to the Centre to facilitate negotiations with the victim's family and save Indian citizen Nimisha Priya from capital punishment by paying blood money in accordance with Yemen's laws.

Blood money refers to the compensation paid by an offender or his kin to the family of the victim.

Nimisha Priya was an Indian nurse working in Yemen and she was convicted in 2020 for the murder of the Yemini national Talal Abdo Mahdi. Mahdi died in July 2017 allegedly of overdose after she injected him with sedatives to get her passport that was in his possession. The plea had alleged that Mahdi had forged documents to show that he was married to her and that she was abused and tortured by him.

The petitioner 'Save Nimisha Priya International Action Council' has challenged a March 15 order of the single judge who had disposed of the organisation's plea for the Ministry of External Affairs to explore and pursue the remedy of a further appeal against the Yemen court's order of conviction.

The single judge had refused to direct the involvement of the central government in the payment of blood money in connection with the death sentence awarded to the woman and had said that no embassy can be part of negotiations to pay blood money.

It had said that the Court cannot ask the government of India to countenance such a payment and had requested authorities to facilitate the appropriate legal action against the conviction of the woman.

The petitioner has sought a direction to the central government to facilitate diplomatic interventions as well as negotiations with the family of the victim on behalf of Ms. Nimisha Priya to save her life by paying blood money in accordance with the law of the land in a time-bound manner .

Lawyer Subhash Chandran KR, representing the petitioner, has said that the petitioner will pay the blood money and negotiate with the family of the victim but the assistance of the government was needed in view of the present social and political situation in Yemen.

The Court had stated that it can, at best and in law, call upon the Centre to facilitate the petitioner in pursuing the judicial remedy under the laws of Yemen.

Central government lawyer Anurag Ahluwalia had said that bearing in mind that the convict is an Indian national, authorities shall take all proactive steps to institute an appeal before the next appellate forum in accordance with the prevalent law and the consular concerned shall extend all cooperation and facilitate the travel of the petitioner to Yemen.

The Court had further requested the Ministry of External Affairs to communicate to the consulate to facilitate the travel of the petitioner as well as to provide help of an interpreter if so required.

Though she had appealed against the death penalty, it was rejected, the plea had said, adding that another chance of appeal before the Supreme Court there still exists but Priya is unlikely to be spared and therefore, her only hope to come out of the death sentence is if the victim's family accepts blood money.

Now, the only way for her to escape from the death penalty is to gain pardon from the family of the deceased by paying blood money to the family in accordance with the law of land. It has come to know from the lawyer who represented her before the appeal court that the option for 'blood money is kept open by the appeal court, the plea had said.

It had said the woman's nine-year-old daughter is living in an orphanage and her mother is a domestic help in Kerala and her husband is an auto-rickshaw driver. The entire family is facing serious challenges to deal with the ongoing legal processes there, it had added.

The petition had also sought a direction to the Centre to immediately initiate necessary steps for filing a formal appeal before the Supreme Court/ Supreme Judicial Council to save the life of Priya in accordance with the law of Yemen.

With PTI inputs