Posts Tagged ‘amnesty international
By Krishna Pokharel
India Real Time
Wall Street Journal
The Chhattisgarh court verdict that convicted Binayak Sen of sedition and sentenced him to life in prison has largely generated support and sympathy for the doctor who has spent most of his life working among tribal Indians in conflict-afflicted central India. Only a few voices said they agreed with the verdict. India Real Time presents a sample of what people said about the decision:
Dr. Sen was convicted for passing on notes from a Maoist prisoner he was treating, which the doctor has denied doing. The state in which he was convicted is at the heart of a violent Maoist rebellion against the Indian government. The rebels say they are fighting on behalf of poor tribals who stand to lose as industry tries to extract the mineral riches of central India.
Journalist M.J. Akbar, editor of the weekly magazine India Today, wrote on his personal blog on Saturday: “India has become a strange democracy where Binayak Sen gets life in jail and dacoits get a life in luxury.”
The “dacoits” in that sentence is a reference to politicians being investigated in connection with a spate of corruption scandals this year.
“Binayak made a fundamental, mortal mistake. He was on the side of the poor. That is a non-negotiable error in our oligarchic democracy,” Mr. Akbar continued, adding a personal touch. “Sen, who was senior to me in school, was and remains the gentlest of people, distinguished only by a fierce commitment to his cause of choice. I do not agree with his political views or inclinations; nor does the political system. But it is only in a dictatorship that disagreement is sufficient reason for incarceration.”
Amnesty International urgent/
18 May 2009
UA 129/09 Fear for Safety/Incommunicado detention
SRI LANKA Dr. T. Sathiyamoorthy (m) medical doctor
Dr. Varatharajah (m) medical doctor
Dr. Shanmugarajah (m) medical doctor
Amnesty International is concerned for the safety of three government employed doctors who had been working in the conflict zone in northeastern Sri Lanka until 15 May. Dr. T. Sathiyamoorthy, Dr. T. Varatharajah and Dr.Shanmugarajah were treating the sick and wounded until they reportedly traveled out of the ‘No Fire Zone’ with approximately 5,000 other civilians.
According to reports received by Amnesty International, Dr. Shanmugarajah and Dr. Sathiyamoorthy, the regional director of health services in Kilinochchi, may be currently held at the Terrorist Investigation Division (T.I.D) in the capital Colombo. However, a detention order has not yet been issued so their relatives remain unsure of their whereabouts and they do not have access to a lawyer. Dr. T. Varatharajah, the regional director of health services in Mullaitivu, was seriously injured and is reported to have been airlifted from the Omanthai crossing point to an unknown destination by the Sri Lankan Air Forces (SLAF). According to reports, the three doctors were last seen on the morning of 15 May at a holding area at Omanthai checking point.
Indian doctor Binayak Sen released from prison on bail
26 May 2009
Dr Binayak Sen, who spent two years in an Indian prison as a Prisoner of Conscience, was released on Tuesday after being granted bail by the Supreme Court.
Welcoming Dr Sen’s release on bail, Amnesty International believes that the charges against him are baseless and politically motivated. Amnesty International has repeated its call on the Indian authorities to immediately drop all the charges against Dr Sen.
Many of the current policies and practices “authorised” by the Indian state require careful review from a human rights perspective.
The latest general elections and the ongoing process of forming a Central government provide an opportunity for introspection regarding India’s human rights record. The policies and practices “authorised” by the Indian state require reflection and reappraisal. The context of India, its framework and policies, shore up and determine many of its practices. The capitalistic model with its success in the West, until the recent collapse, was adopted by India w ith dramatic impact on its economic growth. However, the average improvement in the Indian economy actually increased the income inequality for the majority of those living in Bharat. While poverty based on headcounts has reduced, deprivation, defined as the disparity between base and mean consumption, has increased. The non-inclusive nature of India’s recent growth has resulted in development without social and distributive justice for the majority of Indians.
In many parts of the country, economic issues were complicated by a rising tide of violence. While many of these conflicts seem, on the surface, to have ideological or religious dimensions, their underlying cause is more often social and economic. For example, the deprivation of basic rights for large sections of the population and the gross disparity between the rich and the poor over a prolonged period of time lead to the disadvantaged becoming disillusioned with the democratic process. The naxalite movement, with its philosophy of armed revolution spreading through many poor and deprived parts of India, is a clear indicator of such a trend.
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A shameful anniversary
India has never before witnessed such mobilisation of international and national support for a person imprisoned within its borders. Twentytwo Nobel laureates from different countries have issued spirited statements of protest against the continued detention of Dr Binayak Sen, a public health activist and civil liberties defender. International medical journals, including The Lancet and the British Medical Journal, have written strong editorials deploring his detention in Raipur, capital of the Central Indian state of Chhattisgarh.
Solidarity in the cause of securing his release has acquired the dimensions of a mass movement, with hundreds of people demonstrating or courting arrest in several cities across the globe every Monday. Health professionals, academics, human rights activists, artists, writers and film-makers have weighed in for Dr Sen’s release. Amnesty International has named him a Prisoner of Conscience.
Dozens of individuals have lobbied the government to free him. Legal fora all the way from a magistrate’s court in Raipur to the Supreme Court have been moved for his release. Public-spirited citizens who support Dr Sen have set up a remarkable website in solidarity with him (www.binayaksen.net). It receives an incredible 16,000 hits a day-more than the websites of many major newspapers.
And yet, never before has a government in India proved so thick-skinned and impervious to appeals made on behalf of such a person. Dr Sen was wrongly detained under the draconian Chhattisgarh Special Public Safety Act 2005 (PSA) and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 2004. On May 14, he completed two years of his detention-a shameful anniversary if there ever was one.
The PSA is a nasty law, which criminalises even peaceful protest, by declaring it “a danger or menace to public order, peace and tranquillity”, because it might interfere with or “tends to interfere with the maintenance of public order [ or] the administration of law.” This extremely harsh preventive detention law makes nonsense even of the idea of civil disobedience, a cornerstone of India’s Freedom Struggle. It should have no place in a democracy. Yet, the state government has filed a 750-page chargesheet against Dr Sen under PSA and other laws.
by Anuradha Bhasin Jamwal
From: Kashmir Times, May 17 2009
If tyranny and oppression come to this country, it would be in the guise of fighting a common enemy. James Madison’s predictions have not only turned true for the country he headed as its fourth president but more or less for all democratic countries around the globe. India is no exception where the state finds its way to punish people who question its authoritative might and its lack of accountability in proclaimed a democratic system. It moulds laws, subverting the democratic spirit of the constitution, justifies them and corrupts the judicial system and the media to ensure that justice is what the state believes in. Binayak Sen, the man who has spent two years in prison in Chattisgarh, illustrates this beyond any shadow of doubt. For two odd years, all those who fail to accept the cock and bull stories routinely and officially doled out in defence of the indefensible acts of the government have been at pains to understand what really is Dr Binayak Sen’s crime? But he, like many others across this country, has certainly been projected as the kind of ‘common enemy’ that Madison talked about years ago.
India: Global protests & web appeal as doctor who championed the poor marks two years in jail : Amnesty UK
Posted: 12 May 2009
Amnesty International, UK
Amnesty International launches a new appeal on 14 May calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Dr Binayak Sen, a human rights defender and pioneer of health care to marginalised communities in India, as Dr Sen completes his second year behind bars.
Dr Sen, 59, was arrested on 14 May 2007. Seven months passed before proper charges were filed against him, during which time he was denied bail and kept in soiltary confinement. He was finally charged with facilitating armed Maoist violence and if convicted, he could face a life term in jail. His trial has faced repeated, prolonged delays and has still reached no conclusion, months after legal proceedings began. Amnesty International believes that the charges and evidence against Dr Sen are baseless and politically motivated.
On 14 May, campaigners around the world – in London, Edinburgh, Germany, Italy, the US and in locations all over India – will be protesting against Binayak Sen’s continuing incarceration. Many of them are fellow doctors who have taken up Dr Sen’s case. Amnesty is asking people to go to www.amnesty.org.uk/binayak-sen to send an appeal to the Indian authorities calling for the immediate release of Dr Sen.
Amnesty International UK Campaigns Director Tim Hancock said:
‘Dr Sen is a champion of the poor and the marginalised. He has set up pioneering community health clinics and has stood up for indigenous communities whose voices are seldom heard. He has spoken out about government abuses of human rights when others were silent. Yet now he finds himself marking his second year in jail.
‘Dr Sen’s imprisonment is a glaring example of how the Indian authorities misuse security legislation to target activists. The new powers contain vague and sweeping definitions of ‘unlawful activities’.
‘Under no circumstances should peacefully defending people’s human rights be termed an ‘unlawful activity’ Dr Sen should be released immediately and allowed to get back to his important work for the local community.’
Prior to his arrest, Dr Sen had criticised the state authorities for enacting special security legislation. He had also highlighted unlawful killings of adivasis (indigenous people) by the police and by Salwa Judum, a private militia widely held to be sponsored by the state authorities to fight the guerrillas of the CPI (Maoist). The state authorities have so far failed to conduct effective and impartial investigations into these unlawful killings.
Committee of Concerned Scientists (CCS), an independent international organization devoted to the protection and advancement of human rights and scientific freedom of scientists, physicians, and scholars wrote to Indian governement demanding urgent medical care & Immediate Release of Dr. Binayaksen
CCS Website says
CCS Wrote to Indian authorities on State and Federal level to urge medical care and release from incarceration for Dr Sen, a pioneer in health care to poor and indigenous communities in Chhattisgarh state and a human rights activist, who has been incarcerated on charges of violating security laws that Amnesty International says are unfounded. Local authorities imprisoned him without filing charges for seven months and kept him in solitary confinement for three weeks. His trial, which has been ongoing for 17 months, has not met internationally recognized standards for a fair trial. Authorities have refused Dr. Sen’s request to be transferred to a hospital outside of Raipur because of recurrent chest pains. Dr Sen has been awarded the Jonathan Mann Award for Global Health and Human Rights for his services to poor and tribal communities and his commitment to civil liberties.”
For More Info : Freebinayaksen.org report
Friends from Amnesty Italy sent us 2 posters to show their solidarity to the campaign to Free Binayak Sen
On behalf of the global campaign to release Dr Binayak Sen, we are writing to draw your attention to the fact that, since 14 May 2007, Dr Sen has been in prison on incredible charges of collusion in terrorist violence. The trial has now been in progress for over a year. The police have yet to produce any credible evidence against him. The courts have neither granted Dr Sen bail, nor allowed him to seek medical treatment for his grave ailments at a facility where he feels safe.
Amnesty International has declared Dr Binayak Sen a Prisoner of Conscience and has called for his immediate and unconditional release.
For almost three decades, Dr. Sen provided health care to the poor and underprivileged communities of Chhattisgarh, and defended their civil liberties and human rights. He steadfastly opposed violence of any kind, regardless of who the perpetrators were, and openly called for peace talks. For the two years that he has now languished in jail, the community has been denied his services and his outspoken voice on their behalf.
The global campaign is coordinating worldwide protests/appeals on Dr. Sen’s behalf to coincide with the second anniversary of his reprehensible imprisonment on May 14th.
We the undersigned urge you to join the global protest on 14 May 2009.
- Ilina Sen & Kavita Srivastava – Release Binayak Sen Campaign, India
- K G Kannabiran, Justice Rajinder Sachar, Rajendra Sail – PUCL, India
- Sudha Bharadwaj; Satya Sivaraman; Ashim Roy – Raipur Satyagraha Campaign, India
- P Zachariah – Alumni Association, Christian Medical College, Vellore, India
- Manan Ganguli – Release Binayak Sen Now Campaign, UK
- Roger Jeffery & Anuj Kapilashrami – Free Binayak Sen Campaign (Scotland), UK
- Usha Menon/Vaskar Saha – CMC Alumni in support of Binayak Sen, UK
- Groups in the USA campaigning in support of Binayak Sen
- Honorine Ward & Mary Ganguli – CMC Alumni in support of Binayak Sen, USA
- Somnath Mukherji & Somu Kumar – Association for India’s Development, USA
- Jinee Lokaneeta & Murli Natarajan – South Asian solidarity Initiative, USA
- Anu Mandavilli & Shalini Gera – Friends of South Asia, USA
- Rasheed Ahmed – Indian Muslim Council, USA
- Kaleem Kawaja – Association of Indian Muslims of America, Washington DC, USA
- Joel Lamstein – Global Health Council, USA
- Richard Sollom – Physicians for Human Rights, USA
- Hari Sharma – South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy, Canada