Repeal sedition laws: Binayak Sen

Last Updated: Mon, Aug 01, 2011 15:01 hrs

Kolkata, Aug 1 (IBNS) Human rights activist Binayak Sen on Monday said sedition laws should be repealed completely.

"Laws of sedition in India should be completely repealed," Sen said at a seminar on ´State of Freedom in Democracy´ here on Monday.

"Though I have become a cause celebrity, there are thousands more like me who are languishing in jails all over the country after they were booked under sedition laws," he said.

"It was people's struggle that released me. But the government should be more compassionate to the people's causes and respect the suppressed voices," Sen said.

"In a free democracy like India, every person should be free enough to hold the government wrong on definite accounts," he said.

Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who was present at the seminar, said sedition laws have no relevance in contemporary times.

"Laws like sedition are draconian in nature and has no relevance in contemporary time," said Singhvi.

Sen was released from a Raipur jail on Apr 18 after being granted bail by the Supreme Court on Apr 15 following months in custody on sedition charges.

The Supreme Court on Apr 15 had granted bail to Sen, jailed for his alleged Maoist links but hailed by many as a person working tirelessly for the down-trodden.

The apex court said Sen was not guilty of sedition, bringing jubilation among the supporters of Sen.

He was released on Rs. 50,000 bail bond and Rs. 50,000 personal bond.

Forty Nobel laureates from 12 countries earlier appealed for Binayak Sen's release.

The Nobel laureates, including Ventkatraman Ramakrishnan, had written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, appealing for Sen's release and called Sen an 'exceptional, courageous and selfless colleague, dedicated to helping those in India who are least able to help themselves."

Sen was sentenced for sedition by a Sessions court in Raipur on Dec 24. His family had moved the Chhattisgarh High Court against the life sentence.

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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