Four women Aids patients languish in prison
KARACHI, Sept 28: At least four inmates, all of them of foreign origins, of the Special Prison for Women in the city are infected with the HIV/AIDS, it is learnt. According to sources, a fifth prisoner, also a foreigner, who was also infected with HIV/AIDS, had been repatriated to her native country a few days back. All the five prisoners, in separate cases, had been convicted for drug trafficking and were serving their respective prison terms. During a medical check-up, carried out by the prison authorities as a matter routine, it was revealed that they had the fatal HIV/AIDS infection.
The sources said the prison authorities, through the Sindh home department, had moved a summary to the Sindh chief minister several weeks back for the remission of the unexpired prison terms of these prisoners so that they could be repatriated to their native countries. The sources said that the chief minister had, under Section 401 CrPC and on humanitarian grounds as they were suffering from the fatal diseases, remitted the un-served prison terms of two prisoners and had ordered their repatriation, while the decision on the three other prisoners has not yet been taken. The remission order, issued by the Sindh home department, of the two prisoners says that “upon grant of remission, under Section 3, Sub-section (2) clause (c) of the Foreigners Act, 1946, the two foreign nationals (Wilaphorn Thibuaphan and Junita Theresa Raymond) shall be deported on the travel documents in their custody without hindrance under the order of the government..”
The sources said that the first prisoner, Wilaphorn Thibuaphan, a citizen of Thailand, who had been convicted of drug trafficking and was serving her sentence, unexpired part of which was remitted, and she was repatriated to Thailand a few days back. The chief minister has also remitted the unexpired sentence of Junita Theresa Raymond, a citizen of South Africa. She was convicted of drug trafficking and was arrested and admitted to the prison on Aug 3, 2005. She was sentenced to three years imprisonment and a fine of Rs50,000 was imposed on her and in case of non-payment of the fine she will have to undergo another three months of imprisonment. Though her remaining prison term has been remitted, she is still in the jail as her ticket has not yet been arranged.
The second sick prisoner is Lilian Musa, a Nigerian, who was also caught for drug trafficking. She was admitted to the prison on June 2, 2005. She was tried, convicted and awarded three years and nine months prison sentence and Rs75,000 fine and in case of non-payment she would undergo an additional six months of prison term. Decision on her appeal for release on humanitarian grounds is still awaited. The third prisoner, Victoria Okenwa, a Nigerian and also infected with HIV/AIDS, was also caught for drug trafficking and admitted to the prison on Feb 26, 2004. She was tried, convicted and awarded five years prison term and a Rs25,000 fine was also imposed on her and in case of non-payment she will have to undergo an additional prison term of 45 days. Though the summary for her remission has already been moved, no decision by the chief minister’s office has been taken.
The fourth sick prisoner, Phumla Patience Moses, a citizen of South Africa, was also arrested for drug trafficking and admitted to the prison on Sept 27, 2005. She was tried, convicted and sentenced to undergo a two-and-a-half years prison term and fine of Rs50,000 was also imposed on her and in case of non-payment she will have to serve a further three-month prison term. Her case has also been sent to the chief minister for remission, but no decision has yet been taken. Meanwhile, a German citizen, Eillen Hurt, who was caught travelling without required permissions and documents and sent to prison on May 25, 2005, was released on Sept 25 and returned to her country.