BORIS Johnson must ask the Indian prime minister to free a Scot allegedly tortured into signing a false confession, a major charity claims.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, international justice organisation Reprieve says it fears the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) is failing Dumbarton's Jagtar Singh Johal and the meeting with Narendra Modi is a "crucial opportunity" to call for his release.

The Sikh blogger has been in jail since shortly after his 2017 Punjab wedding and faces a potential death sentence for alleged involvement in a murder conspiracy against right-wing Hindu leaders.

Known as "Jaggi", the 33-year-old has been granted bail in two of the cases raised against him, including involvement in a murder carried out during his incarceration. However, he remains in the sprawling Tihar jail over several others.

He was bundled into a van by plain clothes police while out shopping with his wife and accuses Punjab police of exposing him to torture. He says video "confessions" to crimes were made to avoid further electrocution.

His wife is currently in Scotland and living with her in-laws while she awaits the outcome of an immigration battle. The family has told The National and Sunday National the saga is taking a serious toll on all members.

The National:

Johnson's virtual meeting comes amidst rising Covid fears in India, which saw him cancel a flight to the country.

Reprieve joint executive director Maya Foa has told the PM: "Use this meeting to ensure he is brought home."

The organisation says it has "serious concerns" that the FCDO "has not taken appropriate action in response to this very compelling evidence of Jagtar's arbitrary detention and is failing to implement UK policy to push for the release of its nationals arbitrarily detained overseas".

Foa wrote: "Jagtar’s imprisonment clearly amounts to arbitrary detention under international law.

"He has now been detained for more than three years without trial. His initial arrest was unlawful, amounting to state-sanctioned abduction.

"We further understand that he may have been targeted for his work highlighting human rights abuses against Sikh communities, a legitimate use of his right to freedom of expression.

READ MORE: Jagtar Singh Johal family ‘scared for his life’ as new India claims emerge

"He has also been tortured, a grievous violation of his right to a fair trial."

Around 140 MPs and peers recently wrote to the Foreign Secretary requesting he call for Jagtar’s release.

The FCDO says it has "consistently raised concerns about his case with the government of India" and there has been "extensive ministerial engagement", plus support for the family.

In a previous letter, FCDO minister Lord Ahmad stated that “we raise our concerns about the death penalty at whatever stage and at whatever level we consider to be most effective”.

Foa told the PM the death penalty "is not a theoretical risk" after four men were executed in India last year. She said: "The UK Government must act to bring this young British man home.

"In your upcoming meeting, you have a critical opportunity to secure the release of a young man who is unlawfully and arbitrarily detained and now facing a possible death sentence.

READ MORE: Brother of detained Jagtar Singh Johal's heartbreaking letter

"We respectfully request that you ask Prime Minister Modi to release Jagtar immediately."

Gurpreet Singh Johal, Jagtar's brother, told The National: "We are relieved that the meeting is still going to take place.

"It's three years since the last prime minister raised Jagtar's case. If the previous PM could do it, there is no reason the current prime minister can't."