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Pardon for AIDS-ailing French drug pusher

New Delhi, Jan. 25: French national Vincent Dominique Michael, convicted here on charges of drug-trafficking, would have been released only in 2012 but for L.K. Advani’s announcement in Paris recently that he would be pardoned on humanitarian grounds.

The deputy Prime Minister, who returned from his Qatar-France trip on Thursday, said Vincent would be freed as he is suffering from AIDS.

Lodged in Tihar Jail number 3, Vincent was sentenced to 10 years in prison and slapped a fine of Rs 2 lakh by additional sessions judge R. Kiran Nath on June 5 last year under the Narcotics Drug and Psychotropic Substances Act.

Government medical officers had detected that Vincent was suffering from AIDS some time ago and since then he has been undergoing treatment. The French embassy has maintained regular contact with him to ensure that he gets the right treatment, sources said.

Though Advani has announced Vincent’s release, Tihar jail sources say it would take a minimum of six months before he is allowed to walk free.

“After the government takes a decision, the clemency petition goes to the President, who in turn would seek the consent of the Central government before giving a green signal. This process would take six months’ time,” jail sources said.

Vincent, a resident of Paris, is not the only person to have been granted pardon by the Centre. Leo Sanday, a resident of Norway, was let off in December last year.

A drug pusher, Sanday had also been sentenced for 10 years by a city court.

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