A day after The Washington Post published a story about Baljit Singh, a Sikh man who has spent more than a year in jail in Kabul because Afghan officials say they don’t believe he’s Afghan, jailers roused the 23-year-old from bed early.
Singh and his lawyer, Kimberley Motley, said the article about the unusual detention prompted Afghan authorities to release him.
“This feeling,” a radiant Singh said in an interview over Skype. “I can’t explain it to you.”
Singh, who says he was born in Afghanistan and left as a child, was imprisoned after the British government deported him in summer 2010. He says fellow inmates and guards taunted, harassed and beat him for being a Sikh. Sikhs represent a vanishing religious minority in Afghanistan, a deeply conservative Muslim country.
Because he has no relatives in Afghanistan, Singh is temporarily staying with Motley. Motley is a one-time Wisconsin beauty queen who now works as a defense lawyer in Kabul. Their long-term goal is to find a country willing to admit him as a refugee.
“For now, Baljit and I are going to be roommates,” Motley said.
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