After spending 23 years in an Indian prison on false terror charges, Nisar-ud-din Ahmad walked out a free man on May 11.
Now 43, Ahmad has been reunited with his family, but mourns the time he lost.
“My younger sister was 12 when I saw her last. Her daughter is 12 now,” he told The Indian Express. “A generation has completely slipped from my life.”
In January 1994, Ahmad, then 19 years old, was a second-year pharmacology student preparing for exams, reports the India Times.
Police from a neighboring area, Hyderabad, arrested Ahmad, jailing him for more than a month before he was taken before a court. Ahmad says this was the first time his family was able to learn where he was.
Ahmad’s brother, Zaheer-ud-din, was arrested the following April. Ahmad tells The Indian Express that their father devoted himself to trying to prove his sons’ innocence until his death in 2006. Zaheer-ud-din was released on bail two years later after being diagnosed with lung cancer.
Originally, Ahmad was arrested for an October 1993 bombing in Hyderabad. In the end, he was convicted on completely separate charges, says The Indian Express. Police linked Ahmad to a series of unsolved bombing attacks on trains in a handful of cities in India.
The only evidence in the case was the police record of Ahmad’s confession, later declared invalid by the courts.
Ahmad told the India Times he was “framed.” While he expressed gratitude for India's Supreme Court decision, he asked, “Who will give me my life back?”
“I have clocked 8,150 days of the prime of my life inside the jail,” Ahmad told The Indian Express. “For me, life is over. What you are seeing is a living corpse.”
False terrorism accusations against young Muslim men is a growing problem in India, according to The Times of India. India’s Union Minister for Law Sadananda Gowda called it “a matter of grave concern” in a statement on May 31. He announced plans for a law commission to investigate possible legal reforms.