05/22/2021, 11.00
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Father Swamy refuses hospital: 'I can die in prison'

In a dramatic videoconference before the High Court of Mumbai, the 84-year-old Jesuit who has been in prison since October on terrorism charges, denounces the deterioration of his health: "Eight months ago I could eat on my own and walk, today I can no more. The hospitalization wouldn't change anything, I want the bail to return to my people. "


Mumbai (AsiaNews) - Father Stan Swamy refuses hospitalization and invokes the right to release on  bail.  The 84-year-old Indian Jesuit detained in Taloja prison since last October on charges of terrorism for his commitment to the tribal populations, yesterday appeared in person in videoconference in front of the Mumbai High Court convened to assess his health condition.

In recent days - after the denunciation by his family and brother jesuits about the worsening of his physical condition already undermined by Parkinson's disease - Father Swamy had been taken to JJ Hospital, a public hospital in Mumbai, to be examined.  The cough and fever reported by the religious in a telephone interview, had led to fear of his having contracted  Covid-19, as has already happened to other inmates in the Taloja prison.

The High Court would have consented to his admission to the hospital but - during a hearing in which it became clear to all the worsening of his health conditions - it was Father Swamy who opposed this, preferring prison where in the meantime he had been returned.  “I have already been to JJ Hospital three times - replied the Jesuit - I know the situation: I do not want to be hospitalized there.  I could suffer, maybe even die very soon if my condition continues to deteriorate.  But I prefer this to being taken to the hospital.  The only thing I ask of the judicial system is to examine the application for bail: it is my only request ”.

Father Swamy appeared very tried: he himself recapitulated the consequences that the prison had on his body.  “During these eight months - he said - there has been a slow but steady regression of every function of my body.  Eight months ago I ate alone, I could write, walk, bathe.  All these things are disappearing one after another.  Taloja prison has brought me to a condition where I am unable to write or walk alone.  Someone has to feed me.  I am asking you to consider why and how this deterioration of my health has occurred.  Yesterday I was taken to JJ Hospital and had the opportunity to explain all they administer to me in prison.  The deterioration is stronger than their pills ”.

The Court had also proposed an alternative hospitalization in a private structure, the hospital of the Holy Family in the Bandra district, managed by the Ursuline nuns of Mary Immaculate.  But even in the face of this possibility, Father Swamy remained firm in his request for bail.  He replied: “I don't think it would make any difference.  Whatever happens I want to be able to be with my people ”.  In the end, the High Court of Mumbai again postponed the examination of the application for release on bail to June 7, recommending that Taloja prison in the meantime provide Father Swamy with all the treatment prescribed by JJ Hospital.

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