New Delhi: International human rights group Amnesty International has slammed the life sentence awarded on Friday to activist Dr Binayak Sen by a court in Raipur.
In a statement on Saturday Amnesty International said that fair trial standards were violated in the case against Dr Binayak Sen. It has termed the sentence unusually harsh, claiming that since Dr Sen is an internationally recognised human rights defender who has never been charged with any act of violence.
"The life sentence handed down against Dr Binayak Sen by the Indian state in Chhattisgarh violates international fair trial standards. Life in prison is an unusually harsh sentence for anyone, much less for an internationally recognised human rights defender who has never been charged with any act of violence," the statement said.
Former Attorney-General Soli Sorabjee also criticised the verdict
"It is a shocking judgement. There has been a complete misinterpretation of what sedition means. Apart from that the sentence is outrageous. At this rate no human rights activist will be safe in the country because there can be charges of conspiracy and even if you support a certain person it does not mean that you yourself are indulging in violent activity," said Sorabjee.
"He has a good chance of succeeding in a higher court," Sorabjee replied when asked if Dr Sen's appeal would be upheld by a higher court.
Dr Sen's wife Ilina Sen said that he had been framed.
"I am disappointed and I am sad. But I have also gone through the entire trial and I have gone through the entire evidence. I can say that with certainty that the evidence does not warrant this verdict and this conviction. So I am very sure that our fight has been justified. We didn't get results at this level but there could be many reason for that. One of the charges against Dr Sen is conspiracy but I believe that conspiracy was really to frame him. They may have succeeded at this level but I am sure if this case goes to any court that looks into the law, the evidence and legal position, I am sure that conviction will not hold. I will definitely go and appeal," said Ilina.
Dr Sen was found guilty of sedition and conspiracy by the Raipur Additional District and Sessions Court on Friday along with two other people.
The court of Additional District and Sessions Court of BP Verma pronounced the verdict convicting Dr Sen, Naxal ideologue Narayan Sanyal and Kolkata businessman Piyush Guha guilty of sedition and helping Naxals.
All of them have been sentenced to life imprisonment after being convicted under Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act 2005, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1967, of being a conduit between Naxals and of meeting Narayan Sanyal in jail. The trio has also been convicted under provisions of section 124 IPC (sedition) and 120 B IPC (conspiracy).