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18 January, 2008

No end to Binayak Sen's ordeal in sight

The authorities are going ahead with the prosecution of Dr. Binayak Sen, eminent doctor and human rights activist of Chhattisgarh, ignoring the worldwide protest.

Dr. Sen, arrested in May has been in jail since then, having been refused bail. (See earlier posting)

Ranjana Padhi ( has circulated the following message about the latest court proceedings on the basis of an email received from Dr. Sen's wife, Ilina.

In the hearing yesterday (Thursday) at Raipur, it became clear that Binayak and others were not being produced for formal framing of charges. However, upon query from lawyers, the judge revealed that he had actually written out the order sheet in which he was proceeding for trial retaining the entire gamut of charges on all three of the accused. This means as far as Binayak (or anyone else is concerned), no charge was being dropped, and no discharge petition was being entertained. Therefore, all charges such as the waging war on the state etc stand.

The judge wanted to know whether we wished to go for a review, or whether we were willing to proceed for trial. After a quick consultation with lawyers, Ilina and others decided not to lose more time by going into any review process. Then, the judge ordered all three accused to be produced in court on Feb.ruary 2 for the formal framing of charges, ie for charges read out individually to each person, giving them the option of pleading guilty or not guilty, and then ordering that the trial begin.

The jail authorities filed their medical report on Binayak claiming a long list of days on which he was medically examined, which is all LIES, and say his weight is the ideal weight for his age and height though Binayak has lost over 17 kg in the last few months. They have also done assorted x-rays and blood tests, and report that all is normal.

The prosecution has asked the court for the case diary to be returned to them for some so that they may add a supplementary chargesheet.

Friends, it is very clear that it is going to be a long haul – the legal group needs to push with the trial and keep up the pressure on the prosecution. One cannot think of bail just now.

Meanwhile the imperative to gear up the campaign for his release is very urgent. In Delhi, we have come up with a parcha and a sticker that we shall be sending out very soon.

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