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Marie Andree Leclerc, jailed for conspiring to murder an...

By ROBERT PLASKIN

QUEBEC -- Marie Andree Leclerc, jailed for conspiring to murder an Israeli tourist in India eight years ago, returned home to Quebec City for cancer treatment.

More than 500 people crowded the airport, hoping for a glimpse of Miss Leclerc as she was taken from the plane on a wheelchair Sunday after her 33-hour flight from New Delhi.

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'I have been trying to come back for the last eight years,' she told reporters at the Ancienne Lorette airport. 'I think it is like a dream, to be back, actually.'

Miss Leclerc, who celebrates her 38th birthday Tuesday, has been free on bail since the Supreme Court of India granted her permission last February to appeal a 1982 conviction and life sentence for conspiracy to murder.

The court last week granted her permission to return to Canada for treatment of ovarian cancer, but complications delayed her departure.

Miss Leclerc was expected to undergo an examination and tests today at the Hopital Hotel Dieu de Levis.

After cancer was discovered during a June 29 operation for removal of a tumor from Miss Leclerc's uterus, the Indian court granted permission for her to return for a year's treatment in Canada.

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'They asked me to come back after a year, if I have recovered,' she said. 'But I don't know what is going to happen in six months, or in a year. I could be in a tomb in a year.'

Miss Leclerc was convicted of conspiracy and her French-Vietnamese friend Charles Sobhraj of murder last year in the 1975 overdose killing of Israeli tourist Alan Aaron Jacobs. They were sentenced to life in prison.

The murder was one of a series of crimes for which the pair were sought in nearly a dozen countries through the Middle East and Indochina.

Their adventures were the subject of the best-seller 'Serpentine,' in which novelist Thomas Thompson described Miss Leclerc as Sobhraj's involuntary accomplice.

On her return home, she still maintained her innocence, but expressed no ill will toward the Indian authorities.

'You may feel it is crazy to say that, but I felt very bad to leave India.'

'I had good friends,' she said. 'Indian people are good people and I don't feel any bitterness.'

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