Page last updated at 09:45 GMT, Thursday, 7 January 2010

Bail for Indian 'toilet' stowaway

Habib Hussain
Mr Hussain gained access to the plane as a cleaner at Medina airport

An Indian man who returned to his home country from Saudi Arabia on an Air India flight without a ticket or a passport has been granted bail.

Stowaway Habib Hussain hid in the plane's toilet to escape what he said was was a life of "bonded slavery".

He said that he was duped by unscrupulous agents who forced him to work without pay in Saudi Arabia.

He was detained by Indian police who say this was a major security breach at a time the country is on high alert.

He has been quizzed by Indian police and intelligence agents since his arrest on 25 December at Jaipur airport.

Emotional moment

Mr Hussain - from the state of Uttar Pradesh - said that he only survived in Saudia Arabia by begging money from Hajj pilgrims in the Saudi towns of Mecca and Medina.

Now all I want to do is see my pregnant wife and two children
Habib Hussain

As a cleaner at Medina airport, Mr Hussain was able to hide in the toilet of a plane carrying Hajj pilgrims from Saudi Arabia to the Indian state of Rajasthan.

The BBC's Narayan Bareth in Jaipur says that it was an emotional moment for Mr Hussain's family members - who had been campaigning for his release - when they were reunited with him on Thursday.

''We argued that this was a clear example of an Indian being ill-treated on alien land through no fault of his own," Mr Hussain's lawyer, Ashwani Mishra, said.

''We have produced documents which prove that Habib is Indian."

Mr Hussain told the BBC that he experienced a life of misery in Saudi Arabia and that he was "crying all the time" because he had given all his money to dishonest employment agents.

He said that he had been tricked by a "network of middlemen" who had promised him employment in the kingdom.

"But I have not been paid a salary for last five months," he said, "now all I want to do is see my pregnant wife and two children."

Earlier a local court rejected his bail application observing it was a "serious case", while the prosecution argued that the incident involved an issue of national security.

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