A convicted murderer serving a life sentence at a high-security prison escaped, only to turn himself in 10 days later.
Jahir Hussain, 48, said he was missing his wife and kids, who hadn’t visited him in years, according to police.
In jail since 2009, Hussain disappeared from Poojapura Central Prison in the southern Indian state Kerala on Sept. 7. The prison department and the police launched a massive manhunt to track him but found no leads.
And then, Hussain turned up at a district court with his wife and son on Sept. 17 and surrendered to authorities. He told police that all he wanted was to spend some time with his family, and he had managed to do so in the previous 10 days.
Nirmalanandan Nair, a police official at the prison in Poojapura, told VICE World News that Hussain wrote many letters to his wife to get her and their kids to visit him. “But the family never came to see him,” said Nair.
Hussain managed to escape the prison, which has about 1,350 inmates, while he was assigned a job at the laundry unit outside the high-security zone, Nair said. “There is only one prison officer there. This prisoner managed to get away when nobody was looking,” he added.
Nair said he has no knowledge of any similar escapes in the past.
Hussain has since been arrested again, and will be charged under Indian law for escaping lawful detention, punishable with imprisonment or a fine, or both.
Hussain was accused of the 2004 murder of a distant relative who worked for a precious stones dealer. Police said he strangled the victim to death with the help of a friend, and then made off with jewellery worth INR 500,000 ($6,790). Hussein was arrested soon afterwards but was released on bail. He then absconded and evaded arrest for years, finally getting caught in 2009. His trial was delayed until 2017, and he was convicted that same year. He was sentenced to life in prison.
Kerala’s neighbouring state Tamil Nadu has a history of dramatic, high-profile prison breaks. In one instance, 43 men dug a tunnel through which they snuck out one by one for three nights.
Prison breaks in India often have plot twists. In 2017, an inmate who had escaped came back because he was hungry.
India reported 329 escapes from government custody in 2019, of which 76 were prison breaks.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Poojapura Central Prison is in Tamil Nadu. It is in Kerala state. We regret the error.
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