Cardinal calls on Indian Government to release Fr Stan Swamy

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Cardinal Vincent Nichols and Fr Damian Howard SJ, Provincial of the Jesuits in Britain, have joined calls for the government of India to release Fr Stan Swamy, an 83-year-old Jesuit priest who has been unjustly imprisoned because of his work to support marginalised communities.

Their open letter, published on India’s Republic Day, states; “UN representatives have expressed concern about the arbitrary arrest of Fr Swamy and the way in which the Indian state is seeking to delegitimise his peaceful work for human rights. We add our voices to theirs, in solidarity with Fr Swamy, and urge the authorities to release him on bail, on humanitarian grounds, so that he can receive the medical attention he needs and challenge the manifestly unjust charges brought against him.”

Earlier this month Bishop Declan Lang, chair of the Bishops’ Conference Department for International Affairs, raised Fr Swamy’s case directly with the UK government. Jesuit Missions is also running a public campaign for his release.

You can read the letter from Cardinal Nichols and Fr Howard in full below:

Full Text

Dear Sir

On this day, Republic Day in India, we draw attention to the fate of Fr Stan Swamy, an 83-year-old Jesuit Catholic priest, who has been imprisoned for more than 100 days on completely unfounded charges of terrorism.

Fr Swamy has committed his life to working for the Constitutional rights of the most impoverished and marginalised people in India. Many Jesuits have already given their lives in this cause.

Fr Swamy suffers from Parkinson’s disease and needs help with eating and dressing. He is now at grave risk of contracting COVID in an over-crowded prison in Mumbai.

UN representatives have expressed concern about the arbitrary arrest of Fr Swamy and the way in which the Indian state is seeking to delegitimise his peaceful work for human rights.

We add our voices to theirs, in solidarity with Fr Swamy, and urge the authorities to release him on bail, on humanitarian grounds, so that he can receive the medical attention he needs and challenge the manifestly unjust charges brought against him.

Yours faithfully

Cardinal Vincent Nichols,
Archbishop of Westminster
Fr Damian Howard SJ,
Provincial of the Jesuits in Britain