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Indian Man Freed After 30 Years in Pakistani Jail

by VOA News June 28, 2012

An Indian man has been freed after spending more than three decades in a Pakistani prison for spying.

Surjeet Singh walked over the Wagah border crossing Thursday between Pakistan and India into Punjab state, where he was reunited with his family.

Singh spent time in a prison in the Pakistani city of Lahore after being arrested and sentenced to death on charges of espionage. His sentence was later commuted.

Pakistani media originally reported the person being released was Sarabjit Singh, a high-profile prisoner who has spent more than two decades on death row after being convicted for spying and a bombing.

Sarabjit Singh's family has argued he is innocent and that he crossed the Pakistani border by mistake. They met with Indian Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna Wednesday and urged him and other government leaders to immediately take up Singh's case with Pakistan.

Krishna later told reporters in New Delhi, "I am happy that Surjeet Singh is being released and I hope that Pakistan will also seriously ponder and consider and will release Sarabjit Singh also."

The newly-freed Surjeet Singh told reporters he had met with Sarabjit Singh several times during their incarceration in Pakistan and that the still-detained Sarabjit was doing fine.

India and Pakistan often free each other's prisoners as a good-will gesture. The longtime rivals have fought three wars since their independence from Britain in 1947.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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