Three of the accused in the Lambirds Academy human trafficking case are out on bail, according to the Academy’s CEO Doctor Iftekhar Shams.
Shams disclosed that Indian nationals Gurjeet Singh, Kaushal Chudasama and Ashwin Kanji Patel were granted bail in the sum of $17,500 each on Friday.
Ashwin Kanji Patel told the Times that it had been a long journey to being released from prison pending the conclusion of the human trafficking case.
He asserted that had it not been for the efforts of Doctor Shams, the release would not have been possible.
(Doctor Shams (far left) with other accused)
“There are a lot of things behind that case and that (case) has to finish,” Patel said.
He explained that as a student, his time behind bars was a very difficult period of his life.
” We are totally innocent – our record is clean,” Patel said.
He said they are in possession of documents which prove that they were here for education and not for any other purpose.
Patel told the Times that members of his family back home are in tears because of his situation.
Lambirds Academy CEO Doctor Shams told the Times he was happy that the three accused were out.
“I told you before and I am telling you now – they are totally, totally innocent,” Shams stated.
“We are waiting for the human trafficking case to finish and we are confident that we will win the case for sure – this is a totally political issue – they just framed us,” the Lambirds CEO told the Times.
The bail conditions for Patel, Chudasama and Singh include reporting every day to the Central Police station and observing a 9 pm to 8.am curfew, the Times was informed.
Their travel documents have also been seized.
The three, along with Doctor Shams , had been charged with a number of offences.
All of the charges against the four men were withdrawn with the exception of the charge of human trafficking. Doctor Shams was released on bail earlier this year.
His three co-defendants had been incarcerated since February 27, 2015
They had appealed to Prime Minister Allen Chastanet to expedite their court matter.
Human Rights International (HRI) became involved when it asserted in a letter to Chastanet that all four accused are innocent.
The four men were charged after several mainly Nepalese students claimed that after paying huge sums of money which they had borrowed from persons back home to come here to get Hospitality Study degrees, they realized that Lambirds Academy, which boasted a campus in the North of Saint Lucia, had ripped them off.
The Nepalese students are reported to have since been reimbursed.
Almost all the students have since returned to their native land.
Doctor Shams was himself released on bail on February 10, 2017.