Briton jailed in India can serve rest of term in UK

A BRITISH backpacker who was jailed in India for drugs offences has been granted approval by Indian authorities to serve the remainder of his sentence in the UK, campaigners said yesterday.

Former City worker Patrick Malluzzo, 33, from Dartford, Kent, was handed a ten-year jail term in 2006 following what has been described as a "grossly unfair trial".

Malluzzo was arrested two years earlier for possession of cannabis after he gave a bag to a friend to look after.

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During his time in Kota prison in Rajasthan, he has suffered serious illnesses and been forced to share a cell with more than 50 other inmates.

The Indian ministry of home affairs has now granted approval for Malluzzo to serve the rest of his jail term in Britain, Fair Trials International (FTI) said.

FTI legal case worker Wafa Shah said: "The Indian authorities have granted Patrick's request to be removed back to Britain and now it is up to the British Ministry of Justice to process that through. We are hoping that the fact that the Indian authorities have acted quickly that his application will also be processed quickly in Britain."

FTI has supported Malluzzo after he was convicted at a trial conducted entirely in Hindi and which presented no DNA or fingerprint evidence linking him to the drugs.

His father, Salvatore Malluzzo, said: "We are disappointed that he is not coming home with his name cleared.

"But we hope that the British Government do the honourable thing and get him home in weeks rather than months."

Malluzzo was arrested at Mumbai airport in January 2004 and charged with possession of cannabis as he was about to fly to Thailand.

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said they were providing consular assistance.

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