The Government on Monday ruled out a compromise by paying ‘blood money’ for the release of 17 Indians sentenced to death in Dubai in a case of killing of a Pakistani.

Minister of State for External Affairs Preneet Kaur said she was optimistic that the youths will be released after being proved innocent in court.

“A compromise by paying blood money could not be considered as their guilt is yet to be established,” she told reporters here.

The Minister said that she had met the lawyer who has been contesting the case of Indians during her recent visit to Dubai.

She said she was “very optimistic that all will be freed after being proved innocent”.

Ms. Kaur said that the defence lawyers had conveyed to the court that the option of blood money and compromise could not be considered as yet as the guilt of the 17 accused was yet to be established in this case.

She said that Consulate General of India was in regular touch with the 17 Indians who were languishing in jail since the last two years.

An official of the CGI had visited the prison and found that all the facilities have been given to the Indian inmates in accordance with the UAE’s jail manual.

The next hearing in this case has been scheduled on February 17, 2011.

The 17 Indians, 16 from the Punjab and one from Haryana, were awarded death in March last year by a Sharjah court which found them guilty for the murder of a Misri Nazir Khan, a Pakistani national, near a Sharjah labour camp in January 2009.

Blood money is paid to the next of kin of a murder victim as a fine.

The convicted Indians had earlier spurned a proposal to settle the case by paying blood compensation to the family of the Pakistani man, who was hacked to death in Sharjah in a brawl to sell illicit liquor.

Lawyer of the Indians, Bindu Suresh Chettur had said “the family of the Pakistani man told the court that they were ready to accept compensation including blood money but we refused because justice is on our side.

“The prosecution has failed to establish the relationship between the offence, weapon with which crime was committed and the scene of the crime. No evidence has yet been brought before us,” she had told PTI after the last hearing.