Press Release 24 December, Delhi:
NTUI strongly condemns conviction of Dr. Binayak Sen for Treason
Today the Raipur District and Sessions Court judge B.P. Varma found Dr. Binayak Sen along with Narayan Sanyal and Piyush Guha guilty under 124 A and 120 B of the Indian Penal Code and also under the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act and sentenced them to life imprisonment for sedition and conspiracy against the state. Binayak was arrested soon after the verdict was pronounced.
Dr. Sen, a medical doctor of working people and a renowned civil rights activist of Chhattisgarh, was arrested in May 2007 under the draconian Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. He remained in prison for two years despite repeated applications for bail and nationwide protests before being released in May 2009. The whole charade of the Chhattisgarh law enforcement machinery was fully played out before public eye over this entire period.
Binayak as the State
Secretary and National Vice President of the Peoples’ Union for Civil Liberties was and remains one of the most prominent civil rights defenders in the country. His unlawful arrest and subsequent detention and rejection of bail applications received international publicity as an example of state repression of democratic dissent. Over the past month this case has again hit headlines for the blatant falsehoods and preposterous claims made by the prosecution. An email from Ilina Sen, wife of Dr. Sen, to the Indian Social Institute (ISI) in Delhi, a prominent institution working on human rights, was claimed by the prosecution as proof of contact of Dr. Sen with the ISI in Pakistan!
The procedure followed in establishing the case against Dr. Sen has shown the arrogance of the state machinery, secure in the belief that it cannot be held accountable for its actions, and has the unchallenged right to take away the liberty of any person it holds as opposed to it. In the context today, when state and big business interests are so closely linked, any form of opposition to big business and capital, particularly by the poorest sections of society, is readily seen as anti-state. The numerous draconian laws against dissent, enacted across the country, are examples of a growing repression by the state of all forces opposed to its policies of “development”.
The verdict against a defender of human rights and a doctor of working people exhibits that the judiciary is not above the naked complicity of business interests and the state. The judiciary, which is supposed to mediate on behalf of those denied justice, and in particular defend the rights of human right defenders has today handed out this judgment condemning a defender of democratic rights with no evidence against Dr. Sen. NTUI strongly condemns this conviction and will continue the fight to release Dr. Sen. We call upon the UPA Government to appeal the Raipur Court order in defence of the rights of citizens provided for in the constitution.
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