Monday, February 26, 2007

English Long Rider, Daniel Robinson, imprisoned in India

I'd like to thank all of you for your words of encouragement to Bernice Ende during her 5,000 long ride. The outpouring of support has been tremendous, and is greatly appreciated by Bernice, Honor and Claire. They are nearing Barstow, California on the final long push back to Trego, Montana. All is well, and I've posted some images taken in Bagdad, Arizona sent by some of her many fans.

Less fortunate is the English Equestrian Long Rider, Daniel Robinson, who has been imprisoned in the remote Pursari Jail in India. Daniel was attempting to retrace the ancient Tea Horse Trail, a bone-breaking track stretching thousands of miles from western China, up and over Tibet and down into the distant plains of India. Daniel left England for this magnificent journey over a year ago. His journey began in the company of a group of Tibetans, along the ancient Tea Caravan Trail from China to Lhasa, Tibet. He left Lhasa alone, on foot, with two horses, and covered over 3,000 kilometers through the Himalayas.

Suffering from exhaustion, malnutrition, and near hypothermia, Daniel stopped at the top of the Himalayas so that he and the horses could rest. Realizing that he could go no further without food and help for his horses, one of which was in foal, Daniel headed down toward the Indio-Tibetan border. He turned himself in to a military encampment just above Josimoth at the end of October.

Almost immediately he was arrested and his horses taken into military custody. He was transported to Pursari Jail, outside Gopeshwar. There he sat for over two months, enduring intensive interrogation from four different security services, treated like a common criminal while he awaited the long and arduous process of his case being brought to trial. His health was, and is, broken. He suffered a bout of pneumonia and a kidney infection and, since he is also asthmatic, prison conditions are inevitably and inexorably effecting his health.

At first, Dan was told he may spend up to a year in prison. Now, he may face up to 10 years. The fate of the horses is not yet known, although Dan has been told that he may petition the Indian government for them once he is released.

Please visit the Free Dan website to read more about Dan's plight and sign the petition requesting his release. His next appeal has been moved to March 10th. CuChullaine and Basha O'Reilly of the Long Rider's Guild have also been releasing updates and petitioning for his release.

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