Asylum seeker released from US custody after hunger strike

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FILE – In this June 2018 file photo, protesters walk along Montana Avenue outside the El Paso Processing Center in El Paso, Texas. A few Indian nationals seeking asylum in the U.S. have been forced to receive IV drips at a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility in Texas as they approach their third week of a hunger strike, according to their attorney. (Rudy Gutierrez/The El Paso Times via AP, File)

EL PASO, Texas (AP) — One of two Indian nationals who refused to eat for more than 70 days while seeking asylum in the U.S. has been released after a year in immigration detention.

Ajay Kumar left a detention processing center near an Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility in El Paso on Thursday accompanied by human rights advocates.

Kumar and fellow Indian national Gurjant Singh say they fled India facing political persecution. Both stopped eating July 8. Kumar’s lawyer said in August that her client had been force-fed.

Lawyers for the men say their clients agreed to start eating again after ICE agreed to their release.

An ICE spokeswoman declined to comment.

Attorney Jessica Miles represents Singh and says she expects him to be released Friday.

Kumar was denied asylum. He will live with a human rights advocate in New Mexico while appealing the ruling.

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