Crime

Four-year-old Chinese girl in Women’s Prison, Viyyur

August 01, 2017 01:16 PM

Han, mother held over visa expiry 

KOCHI: Unmindful of the legal wrangles that have held her captive, Han Riu Hou, a four-year-old Chinese girl, is learning the harsh realities of life from a dingy cell of Women’s Prison, Viyyur, Thrissur.

Yet, they cannot walk free as the offence in which they have been implicated is of recurring nature. Since their visas have expired, their offence of overstaying in India will recur the moment they step out of the jail. It would now require an intervention from the higher judiciary for the child to breathe freedom, said P.K. Sajeevan, their counsel.

She was picked up along with mother Zialoin and uncle Song Qi Hou by the Infopark Police from an apartment complex in Kakkanad on July 19 for overstaying the visa period.

They were booked under the provisions of the Foreigners Act and the Indian Penal Code.

Child In distress

The child, who is currently jailed in the No. 1 Cell along with her mother, is in distress.

The unfamiliar language and surroundings, with no children or toys to play with, are telling on her.

The girl, probably the youngest prisoner in Kerala jails, is in the company of five women locked up in the same cell. The jail authorities are finding it tough to provide her Chinese food as ordered by the court. They could offer her only what is cooked in the jail for the other inmates. Jail authorities said they were giving her fruits and milk too.

Hou, her mother, and her uncle had been living with a Keralite at a rented villa at Kakkanad. The Keralite, arraigned as an accused in the visa case, is absconding since their arrest, according to court documents.

Considering her age, the Judicial First Class Magistrate Court, Kakkanad, held that the child cannot be separated from her mother. Since she had no other relative in Kerala, the court ordered that she be sent along with her mother and thus began Hou’s jail term.

The mother and child got a minor relief on Saturday when the sessions court, Ernakulam, granted them bail. While granting them bail, the sessions court adopted a “philanthropic approach” though it imposed stringent bail conditions.

Yet, they cannot walk free as the offence in which they have been implicated is of recurring nature. Since their visas have expired, their offence of overstaying in India will recur the moment they step out of the jail. It would now require an intervention from the higher judiciary for the child to breathe freedom, said P.K. Sajeevan, their counsel.

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