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Freedom after eight years

He was to be released before the Pujas last year, but wasn't granted bail. After languishing behind bars for over eight years, Wong Ye walked out of Presidency jail on Tuesday and can celebrate this festival of lights a free bird.

The 71-year-old Taiwanese national’s ordeal has been as traumatic as protracted. Ye was arrested by city police in 1994 and charged under Section 14 of the Foreigners’ Act for not possessing valid documents. He was sentenced to five months’ simple imprisonment by the metropolitan magistrate, 16th court, in 1995 (the period of detention to be set off from the day he was arrested, ending on April 17, 1995).

He was also ordered to be “pushed back” to Taiwan on the expiry of the sentence. But Ye could not be deported because his Taiwanese nationality could not be confirmed. Years of living under dismal conditions in the dingy cell led to a “loss of orientation” and affected his memory.

In 2002, Ye’s plight drew the attention of the Brothers of the Missionaries of Charity, who requested their advocate to do something for the hapless old man. Accordingly, an appeal was filed in August last year. Last Friday (October 17), bail was granted by the vacation bench of the city civil and sessions court on the undertaking of the Missionaries of Charity that they would look after Ye.

“The Brothers want to rehabilitate him at their Kanchrapara home for non-criminal lunatics,” said David Mantosh, who along with Juthi Banerjee, have been representing the Brothers and the accused in the case. Ye was eventually released on Tuesday and was taken to Mother House from Presidency jail. “Ami bari jachhi” was all he would say, having picked up a few words in Bengali during his long jail stint.

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