05/19/2021, 12.48
INDIA
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Fr. Stan's life is at risk as he is transferred from prison to hospital

by Nirmala Carvalho

The 84-year-old Jesuit, who has been in prison since October, was taken to a public hospital after his condition was reported. Despite the symptoms compatible with Covid-19, he was still subjected to the vaccination. His immediate release for health reasons.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - Jesuit Father Stan Swami, who has been in prison in Taloja since last October on charges of "terrorism" for his work in favour of tribal populations, was transferred overnight to JJ Hospital in Mumbai.

His move was announced by his Jesuit confreres who, on the basis of the serious conditions of the 84-year-old religious, presented a new application for bail that should be discussed later today. The news comes after reports in recent days - following a phone call in which Fr. Swami denounced a bad cough and fever - it had already been speculated that he had contracted Covid-19, which is spreading in the prison.

Frazer Mascarenhas, former director of St Xavier's College, told AsiaNews: "His health is deteriorating very seriously. He has not been subjected to any tests and, despite not feeling well, he was however vaccinated against Covid-19. His health is very fragile and he needs adequate medical assistance. We hope this happens at JJ Hospital, which is a public facility. Transfer to a private clinic on bail would be a better option and would allow us Jesuits to be able to meet him to offer him closeness and support”.

The repeated request for Fr. Swami’s immediate release for medical reasons or, alternatively, house arrest was presented today at the High Court in Mumbai. The request is based on the testimony of the confrere Fr. Joseph Xavier who had a telephone conversation with him on May 14 in which he complained of cough, fever and stomach discomfort along with a sense of weakness. The following day, this state of health did not allow the elderly Jesuit in prison to reach the telephone.

Fr Joseph - who has known Father Swami for decades - says he never heard him complain about his health in the past, which seems to confirm the seriousness of his condition. The suspicion of contagion from Covid-19 would also add to an already serious general health picture: Fr. Swami is suffering from advanced Parkinson's disease, he suffers from tremors in both arms which make it almost impossible for him to carry out essential daily activities such as eating, drinking, dressing or bathing without the assistance of cell mates. He also struggles to walk due to a fall while he was in the bathroom and also suffers from memory lapses and hearing loss.

In the bail application it is also said that in prison he is receiving different medicines to those his neurologist in Ranchi had prescribed.

 “It is worth noting - reads the text - that Ole-5 is an antipsychotic drug used in the treatment of schizophrenia, bipolar disorders and mental disorders, diseases that have never been diagnosed. Taloja prison does not have adequate facilities and medical care is provided only by three Ayurvedic doctors. It is clear that the life of Fr. Swami is under imminent threat due to pre-existing health conditions, advanced age, lack of adequate assistance in Taloja prison and the spread of Covid-19 in prison”.

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