Family urges India to free 80-yr-old Chisty | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Family urges India to free 80-yr-old Chisty

delhi Updated: Nov 28, 2011 15:49 IST

The family of Khalil Chisty, the Pakistani virologist serving life imprisonment in the Ajmer Jail, has appealed to the Indian government to release him on "humanitarian grounds".

"We have appealed to the Indian government to release him on humanitarian grounds as he has already been punished for 19 years and there was no point in sentencing him for life after such a long trial," says daughter Shoa Jawaid.

"He is almost 80 years old, and for 20 years he has been separated from his family.... How long will he continue to suffer," Shoa said.

"Hope is the only thing we have, we can never lose that as long as we are alive," she said while wiping away tears from eyes.

Chisty's wife blamed the judicial process for her husband's suffering.

"Does it take so much to convict a person. We haven't seen or heard anything like this before, 19 years and still waiting," 65-year-old Begum Mehrunissa said.

Mehrunissa, who has lost her capacity to hear, is here with her daughter Shoa and grandson Syed Aki Ghalib Chisty.

The family is here on a one-month visa and running from pillar to post seeking Chisty's release.

His 23-year-old grandson Chisty recalled his emotional reunion with his grandfather in a jail hospital on Thursday.

"He is very weak and can't even walk. At this age he needs our support and care.

"India in any case has to send my grandfather dead or alive someday so why not send him back alive? This goodwill gesture will only improve the relations between the two countries," he said.

Chisty was sentenced for life in a murder case by a sessions court in Rajasthan in 2010. An appeal was filed in the high court but his bail plea was rejected.

Press Council chief and former Supreme Court judge Markandey Katju had recently sought the intervention of Congress president Sonia Gandhi for Chisty's release.

Katju had earlier shot off a letter to mrime minister Manmohan Singh in April, requesting him to grant a pardon under Article 72 of the Constitution to Chisti.