Thirty five-year-old Mofo Rene's prolonged confinement at the Lampur Detention Centre in northwest Delhi just got longer — thanks to the Commonwealth Games.
"They said they needed an identity proof in order to release me. Now that my lawyer has got hold of my official Cameroonian marriage certificate to furnish as proof of my identity - the Games are keeping both officials at Lampur and the Ministry of External Affairs too busy," the resident of Cameroon's capital city of Yaounde told Hindustan Times.
Arrested on two charges of drug peddling in July 2008, Rene had been acquitted in both on April 26 this year. On September 2, Hindustan Times had reported on the hapless African's resolve to go on a hunger strike. A copy of Rene's marriage certificate is with HT.
"I'm still on my hunger strike but no one cares. If I don't see my family soon, I'm going to commit suicide because a life like this isn't worth living for any human being," Rene said.
Rene's lawyer, Santosh Singh Barthwal has been running from pillar to post to help him return to his wife and five-year-old son since he got lodged at Lampur.
"He was arrested on July 7, 2008 and sent to judicial custody. He was then lodged at the Rohini Jail for two years till the judge acquitted him on April 6, 2010. Instead of being deported immediately after being acquitted, he's been lodged at the Lampur detention centre for five months. This isn't procedural delay, its illegal confinement," said Santosh Singh Barthwal.
Barthwal said that he had offered to take surety for Rene after his release, but to no avail.
"I've become a joke for them. When I asked an official when I would be released, a few days ago, he laughed and said I should try and contact my country's contingent participating in the Games to help me. How can they? They're athletes and sports delegates not diplomatic missionaries," said Rene.
On condition of anonymity, a senior official from the Lampur Detention Centre said, "The whole city is busy with the Games and so is the Ministry (of external affairs). We are waiting for a response from them."