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Canada's Jews rally to free compatriot jailed in India

world Updated: Feb 28, 2008 09:06 IST

PTI
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The Jewish leaders in Canada, including a former minister, have urged the Indian government to release a native businessman undergoing a sentence in a Bihar prison for visa violation.



Saul Itzhayek, 42, an electronic components buyer, was arrested last May during a business trip to the region.



Jewish leaders, who held a rally in Montreal on Wednesday, said in a statement that the prison sentence, even if technically lawful, should be reviewed as Itzhayek's health was deteriorating.



Quoting his family members, they said Itzhayek had lost some 65 pounds since being sent to Motihari prison in Bihar and was suffering from severe depression.



Former Canadian justice minister Irwin Cotler, a prominent international human rights lawyer and a Jewish member of the Liberal Party, had led a delegation to Ottawa in late January to press for Itzhayek's urgent release.



The group, which included Jewish and interfaith leaders, met with Canada's Secretary of State and Foreign Affairs Helena Guergis, and India's High Commissioner to Canada RL Narayan.

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