Dr. Sen's Case to Appear Before High Court

Prominent individuals, including Nobel laureate Amartya Sen as well as human rights and medical organizations across the globe have responded in protest to the life-sentence imposed on Dr. Binayak Sen last week. Ram Jethmalani, an M.P. from India’s conservative BJP party, told the press on Tuesday that he would argue Dr. Sen’s case on appeal before the High Court of Chhattisgarh. Jethmalani is in retirement and rarely takes on cases. He is India’s most prominent criminal attorney. Dr. Sen’s wife, Ilina, spoke on Indian television and reported being harassed by anonymous phone calls and told the media that she did not feel safe in Chhattisgarh. On Tuesday, January 4, Dr. Sen spent his 61 birthday in prison. Meanwhile, we’ve learned that friends and supporters organized protests in Kolkata, Wharda, Delhi, Cambridge, MA, and his hometown of Kalyani in West Bengal. In Delhi and Kalyani, activists began campaigns to feed the homeless in these cities in Dr. Sen’s honor. The issue of malnutrition is one that Dr. Sen has worked tirelessly to bring to light and address, and organizers continue his work in solidarity with his plight. Also in Kalyani, Dr. Sen’s mother, Anasua Sen, sang a song for her son to begin the two-hour program honoring his birthday, which closed with a chorus of “We Shall Overcome.” The next day, Sen’s counsel Mahendra Dubey filed an appeal against his conviction in Chhattisgarh High Court. Dubey argued that Sen’s alleged crime was not proved beyond a reasonable doubt. He cited a lack of evidence beyond the circumstantial, and a failure by the court to follow correct procedure. Human Rights Watch this week called again on India to repeal its sedition law which it alleges is used to silence peaceful dissent, as in the case of Dr. Sen. PHR calls once again for a prompt overturning of the sentence against Dr. Sen and for his immediate release.

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