Family raises surety for imprisoned nurse

Crime & Courts

Delhi - A nurse from Pietermaritzburg who was arrested in India when a bullet was found in her luggage was expected to appear in the Delhi High Court on Monday to plead for the return of her passport.

Friends and family of Isra Devi Lutchman, 62, helped raise the R70 000 the court wanted as surety bond – in the event she did not return to stand trial – her husband, Spaga Lutchman, said on Monday.

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Isra Devi Lutchman has returned home after her ordeal in India. Picture: Shan PillayHolding a photograph of his wife, Ishara, Gangaparsad Lutchman is in despair while he waits for her to be allowed to return from India where she was arrested at the airport when a bullet was found in her luggage. Photo: SHAN PILLAY

The couple’s son, Colin, and two family friends are in India making arrangements to bring Isra back home.

“I haven’t been able to speak to Isra, but I have been getting regularly updates from my son. I just called him and I should know by (tonight) what the court has said about returning my wife’s passport,” said Spaga, 66.

“The advocate is currently preparing court papers.”

His wife, who has worked as a nurse for 45 years, 25 of them at St Anne’s Hospital in Pietermaritzburg, had gone on a religious pilgrimage to India with her sister and brother-in-law, but was stopped at Indira Gandhi International Airport when a single 9mm bullet was found in her luggage.

Isra was charged with contravening India’s Arms Act.

Spaga said his wife spent four nights in prison before she was released on bail last week.

Yesterday their lawyer was trying to make arrangements for the surety bond to be deposited with Indian authorities. The family said they did not know how a bullet came to be in Isra’s suitcase and felt it was a misunderstanding.

While her husband is a licensed gun owner, another relative who owns a gun used her bag on a trip earlier this year. They hope Isra will return home this week.

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