Right activists seek fair trial for Binayak Sen

April 22nd, 2008 - 9:26 pm ICT by admin  

Raipur, April 22 (IANS) With jailed physician Binayak Sen bagging the prestigious Jonathan Mann Award for Global Health and Human Rights by the US-based Global Health Council, human rights activists have sought a fair trial for him. Sen faces various charges, including treason.

The Chhattisgarh police picked up Sen, a paediatrician by profession and vice president of the rights group People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), May 14 from state’s Bilaspur town for his alleged links with Maoist ideologue Narayan Sanyal.

Sen was held under the stringent Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act 2005 (CSPSA) and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967. He has been lodged at the Raipur central jail since his arrest.

The police presented a detailed charge-sheet against Sen March 14 at a trial court here with a list of six witnesses who would depose before the court during the four days of hearing beginning April 30.

Rajendra K Sail, state president of PUCL, said: “The Chhattisgarh government will get exposed before the world soon for targeting human rights activists, mainly from PUCL, under the cover of black laws such as the CSPSA for carrying out campaign against fake civilians encounters, arrests and committing crimes against humanity through Salwa Judum.”

“I have maintained since Sen’s arrest last May that the Chhattisgarh government has no evidence against him. We challenge the government to bring charges against him under the Criminal Procedure Code and not hide behind the black laws,” said Sail.

“We welcome the award. He needs a fair trial to get out of the charges,” Subhash Mohapatra, director of the Forum for Fact-Finding Documentation and Advocacy, a rights organisation, told IANS.

The PUCL has appealed to various people’s organisations to observe Labour Day May 1, 2008, as protest against the “growing state repression in Chhattisgarh, repeal of the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act 2005, release of Sen and all others detained under this anti-democratic law”.

Sources at the police headquarters here say that they have clinching evidence including some electronic documents to prove how strong the nexus was between Sen and the Maoists.

“I don’t have any idea about what kind of award he has got. I only know the police are committed to ensure punishment for Sen, who has been charged with conspiracy, treason and anti-national activities,” Girdhari Nayak, inspector general of the state’s anti-Maoist operations, said over phone Tuesday.

“The issue is already in court and let the court decide on basis of evidence what were the activities of Sen under the cover of a human right activist,” he added.

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