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December 8, 2002

UK charity worker freed from Indian jail to return home

From: PTI News, India - 08 Dec 2002

London,Sunday, December 08, 2002: A disabled British charity worker, who was jailed in India for possessing cannabis and released on compassionate grounds following intervention by Prime Minister Tony Blair, will return home next week.

Freedom for 52-year old Ian Stillman, a deaf diabetic with an artificial leg, imprisoned in Shimla last year after being handed down a ten-year term, came after discreet lobbying by Blair and Foreign Secretary Jack Straw.
The charity worker, who was arrested for possessing 20 Kgs of cannabis, said he was innocent, but was convicted by a court in June last year, 'The Sunday Observer' reported today, adding Stillman didn't undrstand a word of his trial which was conducted in Hindi.
Blair wrote a letter to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee last month requesting him to free Stillman on compassionate grounds while Straw and Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott also pleaded for his release, it said.
Stillman had been a resident of Chennai for more than 25 years, where he found Nambikkai (faith), a charity organisation that provides training, education and employment for the deaf.
Stillman's Indian wife, Sue, and the couple's 20-year old daughter Anita and 23-year old son Lennie were in Shimla on Friday to receive him after his release, the report said.
11:33 IST
© PTI News