LUCKNOW, India (AFP) - Prison authorities in India have released the country's oldest inmate, 108-year-old Brij Bihari Pandey, who was convicted of a murder he committed at the age of 84, officials said Saturday.
Pandey, a Hindu priest, was freed on Friday by a court in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh on humanitarian grounds as prison officials were finding it difficult to provide regular medical treatment to the "oldest prisoner in the history of Indian prisons."
"It was getting difficult to take care of a 108-year-old prisoner. We moved an application for his release and the court accepted it," said S.K. Sharma, superintendent of Gorakhpur Jail, 300 kilometers (190 miles) from the state capital Lucknow.
Sharma said the release was based on humanitarian grounds.
At the ripe old age of 84, Pandey along with 15 others, many of them his nephews and family members, killed four people over the inheritance of a Hindu religious institution.
In 2009, he was convicted and sent to Gorakhpur Jail but the weak and infirm centenarian convict had to be frequently rushed to hospital and was mostly bed-ridden.
Pandey expressed delight over his release Friday by smiling and giving a warm hug to his fellow inmates, who in turn garlanded him.
Jail officials said he received the garland with a broad smile and said, "God is great. Thank you."
84세에 살인 저질러, 108세 출소
인도에서 가장 나이가 많은 재소자가 출소되어 화제다.
그는 108세로 84세에 살인을 저질러 24년 동안 수감되어 있었다.
인도 법원은 감옥에서 가장 나이가 많은 판데이에게 정기적인 의학 검사를 제공하는데 어려움이 있다고 판단해 그를 석방했다.
고락푸르 감옥 감독관 샤마는 108세인 수감자를 돌보기가 점점 어려워졌다고 하며 법원에 그를 석방해달라는 요청서를 보냈고 법원은 요청을 받아들였다고 말했다. 그리고 이번 석방은 인도적인 이유로 이루어졌다고 덧붙였다.
판데이는 84세에 공범인 가족구성원 15명과 함께 힌두교 유산을 놓고 4명을 살해했다.
2009년 그는 고락푸르 감독에 수감됐으나 몸이 쇠약해 대부분의 시간을 침대에 누워지내거나 병원으로 실려가곤 했다.