India – A Montreal man, sentenced to three years in an Indian jail for entering the country without a proper visa, [as covered by VIN News] is heartbroken and wants to come home, says his sister.
Saul Itzhayek, 42, was sentenced to serve in a crowded, filthy jail in the northern Indian city of Motihari last October. The Canadian businessman’s fellow inmates include murderers, rapists, thieves and drug dealers.
“He sleeps on the floor,” his sister, Syvia Itzhayek, told CTV Montreal. “I mean, it’s a rat-infested jail, there’s sewage all around. It’s very, very cold because it’s an open-air jail.” She explained that the “natural reaction” regarding an illegal entry into a foreign country would be deportation. “My brother has spent seven-and-a-half months there, in a freezing-cold, open-air prison, with no shoes. He’s ill and he’s suffering. He’s lost almost 70 pounds. He has done nothing wrong. I don’t know how much longer he can survive there. He’s so depressed.
“Don’t forget that my brother is a Jew.” She said, however, that she doesn’t believe the situation has anything to do with his religion.
Itzhayek, a father of two, was arrested after entering India while on a business trip in Nepal.
In a sworn statement, Itzhayek said he sent his driver into India to pick up money that had been wired to him. Indian officials stopped the driver at the border and seized some documents, including Itzhayek’s
A group of supporters, including his sister and Rabbi Chaim Steinmetz of Tifereth Beth David Jerusalem synagogue, are travelling to Ottawa to pressure the government on taking action to secure Itzhayek’s release.
“For the last eight months we’ve waited and we’ve gotten excuses, we’ve gotten explanations, but we haven’t gotten freedom,” said Steinmetz.