Campbell drops 25kg in Indian jail

Neil Campbell spent the past five years in Afghanistan overseeing an USAID program, before he was detained.
Neil Campbell spent the past five years in Afghanistan overseeing an USAID program, before he was detained.

SUNSHINE Coast construction manager Neil Campbell has lost 25 kilograms in an Indian jail while he awaits extradition to the United States.

His brother Vaughan, who flew to India last Friday to see him, has secured several visits to Tihar prison in New Delhi, where he said prison officials had been cooperative and helpful.

Mr Campbell said Neil was down to 75kg from his usual 100kg due to the prison’s totally vegetarian diet, but said his brother’s main concern was not about himself but about his children, aged 19 and 21, who live at Mooloolaba.

“That’s an admirable quality but my concern is for my brother,” Mr Campbell said.

“The US paperwork for the extradition is in but it is locked up in the Indian bureaucracy.

“When that’s done I think he will be gone in the blink of an eye.

“I’ve no doubt in my mind that Neil is suffering from post traumatic stress disorder but at the same time he is really composed about his situation.

“We just have to deal with the fact that he will go to the United States.”

Mr Campbell described Tihar prison as “unbelievable” with 15,000 prisoners in a jail built to accommodate 7000.

However, he was delighted with the support he was given by senior prison officials after he negotiated a mile-long queue of relatives and lawyers visiting prisoners.

He was allowed two visits with his brother on the one day on Tuesday.

Neil Campbell has been in the jail since his arrest at New Delhi airport on October 13 at the request of the US Government, which wants him to face corruption charges relating to a USAID project he was overseeing in Afghanistan.

He has spent the past five years in Afghanistan, during which time his life was often in danger.

In court on Monday, he had expected the extradition he has not opposed to finally be granted.

However, the judge refused to progress the matter saying he had yet to receive a formal application for the extradition, and in any case he had not been formally appointed as an extradition judge.

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