Death row: Sarabjit in satisfactory health says Home Dept

NOVEMBER 5, 2012 http://tribune.com.pk

LAHORE: Jail authorities say that the health of Indian death row prisoner Sarabjit Singh is satisfactory and all of his vital functions are intact, despite the prisoner’s earlier protestations to the contrary.

Singh’s lawyer Advocate Awais Sheikh had earlier written to the Home Department asking for a medical check-up for the prisoner. The Home Department consulted the Central Jail superintendent and wrote a letter back.

The Home Department said in the letter that Singh’s mental health was good. “No neurological deficit exists,” it states. It said that he was being served a satisfactory diet. It said that Singh had complained of weakness in his left leg, for which he was being provided medications.

‘Slow poisoning’

In August, Sheikh had delivered letters from Singh to his family in India  to his sister Dalbir Kaur and his daughters Ponam Kaur and Sonia Gandhi – in which the prisoner complained that he was being slowly poisoned.

He had accused jail officials of conspiring to drive him insane.

He said they made fun of him when he asked for painkillers.

He said that his health had deteriorated in the past two months because of slow poisoning.

Sheikh said after Singh’s letter was widely published in Indian newspapers, jail authorities denied him access. Sheikh filed a petition in the LHC, which allowed him one meeting with the prisoner “on humanitarian grounds”.

Almost a month since the court directed the inspector general for prisons to arrange a meeting, it has yet to take place.

Sheikh said that Singh’s family had sent food, money and messages for the prisoner which he had been unable to deliver yet.

Singh, a 49-year-old Indian national from Bhikhiwind village in Amritsar, was arrested on the charge of orchestrating four bomb blasts in Faisalabad, Multan and Lahore on July 29, 1990. He was subsequently tried, convicted and sentenced to death.

Sheikh says that Singh’s case is one of mistaken identity – the FIR for the case was registered against one Manjeet Singh – and that his client had crossed into Pakistan accidentally.

There are several clemency appeals for Singh pending before President Asif Ali Zardari.

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