Physician Binayak Sen appeals against life sentence

Raipur, Jan 9, 2011 (Calcutta Tube/IBNS) Human rights activist and physician Binayak Sen has moved the Chhattisgarh High Court against life sentence given by a lower court for supporting Maoist rebels.

Filing the petition, Sen’s counsel Mahendra Dubey said the Raipur Sessions Court in Chhattisgarh ‘ignored’ arguments of the defence and that the circumstantial evidence that led to the verdict, ‘lack cohesion’.

Earlier, on Tuesday, Indian Home Minister P Chidambaram on Tuesday said that if people felt that the life sentence dished out Sen was unfair, then they were free to appeal against the verdict.

Last month, the Raipur Sessions Court in Chhattisgarh convicted Dr. Binayak Sen for “sedition and waging war against the state” and sentenced him to life imprisonment for supporting the Maoist rebels.

Support for freeing Sen poured in from various groups in India and abroad, including international human rights watchdog Amnesty International, which criticized the Indian system for the conviction.

On Tuesday, Chidambaram said, “Dr. Sen has been convicted by a court of law. Many persons have said that the trial court judgement was unsatisfactory; it may be, but only way to correct it is by filing an appeal.”

He also said that he had personally spoken to Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh, on Sen’s request, to ensure that trials in the case were being held regularly instead of only once a week or only on a few days in a week.

Sen, who was arrested in May 2007 from Bilaspur, was detained for two years, and released on bail in May 2009. In 2008, he was awarded the Jonathan Mann Award for Global Health and Human Rights by the Global Health Council.

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