Friday, December 24, 2010

Binayak Sen, 2 others sentenced to life


Published: December 24, 2010 14:41 IST | Updated: December 24, 2010 17:22 IST Raipur,

Binayak Sen, 2 others sentenced to life


Rights activist Binayak Sen, Naxal ideologue Narayan Sanyal and Kolkata businessman Piyush Guha were on Friday convicted for sedition and sentenced to life imprisonment for colluding with Maoists to establish a network to fight the state.

Additional District and Sessions Judge B.P. Verma held the trio, who were present in the jam-packed courtroom, guilty under provisions of section 124A (sedition)and 120 B (conspiracy) of IPC and Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act.

The 58-year-old Dr. Sen, a paediatrician by training and vice-president of the People’s Union of Civil Liberties, had been accused by the prosecution of acting as courier for Sanyal, who was in jail, by carrying his messages and letters to the underground Maoists.

Dr. Sen was arrested on May 14, 2007 from Bilaspur and was in jail for two years before being granted bail by the Supreme Court in May last year.

Sanyal, 67, was arrested in Khammam in Andhra Pradesh in January 2006, while Guha, 35, was nabbed a year later in May. Both have been in jail with the prosecution having charged them with helping Maoists to set up a network.

Mahendra Dubey, Dr. Sen’s lawyer, said they will appeal against the verdict. “This kind of judgement was not expected by us,” he said.

All the three were sentenced to life imprisonment under sections 124A and 120(B) of IPC. The trio were also found guilty under Section 8(1) of Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act and awarded two years imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 1,000.

They were sentenced to one year imprisonment and Rs. 1000 fine under section 8(2) of the state Act, to three years prison term and a fine of Rs. 1000 under section 8(3) of that Act and to five years imprisonment and fine of Rs. 1000 under its Section 8(5), Mr. Dubey said.

All the three were also found guilty under provisions of Prevention of Unlawful Activities Act and sentenced upto five years jail term and a fine of Rs. 1,000 each. Sanyal was also awarded 10 years imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 2,000 under Section 20 of the Act.

The sentences will run concurrently, Mr. Dubey said.

Dr. Sen’s wife Elina and rights activists expressed “shock” and “disappointment” over the verdict.

“It is completely irrational. It is not a judgement that I would agree with,” Ms. Elina Sen said. “We will take whatever legal recourse is available to us. We will not be able to do it immediately because higher courts are on vacation.”

Ms. Elina Sen, who was present in the court during the trial, claimed, “Not a single piece of evidence came up to support this kind of conviction — sedition and conspiracy against the state. I hope justice will prevail.”

Swami Agnivesh said the verdict was “unacceptable“.

“I find it unacceptable that Sen has been charged with sedition. We will appeal in the High Court. This judgement has definitely come as a shock to all human rights activists and people who have been working for the poor,” he said.

Amit Banerjee, another defence lawyer, claimed, “There is no evidence against Sanyal that he is a Naxalite.”

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