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09 April, 2008

Dr. Binayak Sen in solitary confinement, says wife

Ilina Sen, wife of Dr. Binayak Sen, well-known pediatrician and activist, who is facing criminal charges in Chhatisgarh for his support to human rights causes, says in a message:

dear friends,

yes, it is true. binayak has been in solitary confinement for over two weeks now. this is illegal, and we are going to challenge this in court. our last meeting was heavy, since we did not have a direct meeting and only spoke to each other across two layers of steel mesh.

Here is some background information:

The imprisonment of a person in total isolation is not acceptable under international human rights standards.

The Indian Penal Code has two sections dealing with solitary confinement. They read as follows:

Section 73. Solitary confinement

Whenever any person is convicted of an offence for which under this Code the Court has power to sentence him to rigorous imprisonment, the court may, by its sentence, order that the offender shall be kept in solitary confinement for any portion or portions of the imprisonment to which he is sentenced, not exceeding three months in the whole, according to the following scale, that is to say ---

A time not exceeding one month if the term of imprisonment shall not exceed six months:

A time not exceeding two months if the term of imprisonment shall exceed six months and [shall not exceed one] year:

A time not exceeding three months if the term of imprisonment shall exceed one year.

Section 74. Limit of solitary confinement

In executing a sentence of solitary confinement, such confinement shall in no case exceed fourteen days at a time, with intervals between the periods of solitary confinement of not less duration than such periods: and when the imprisonment awarded shall exceed three months, the solitary confinement shall not exceed seven days in any one month of the whole imprisonment awarded, with intervals between the periods of solitary confinement of not less duration than such periods.

It is evident from the above that even convicted persons are protected by law from such cruel and unusual punishment. Binayak has not even been tried! This unlawful abuse could be the straw that breaks his fragile mental and physical health.

How can we help protect Binayak's human rights?

His wife asks that we send faxes to the Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh and the Chief Justice of Chhattisgarh. We could express our outrage at the unfair, unlawful and inhuman treatment meted out to him.

Here are the relevant names and fax numbers:

Dr. Raman Singh,
Chief Minister,

fax: +91 7712 221306 (07712 221306 from within India)

Hon'ble Shri Justice Rajeev Gupta,
Chief Justice, Chhattisgarh High Court

fax: +91 7752 226030 (07752 226030 from within India)

You may also write to Dr. Binayak Sen at the following address:
Dr. Binayak Sen,
Raipur central Jail,
Chhattisgarh - 492001

Previous post on Dr. Binayak Sen:
Binayak Sen’s trial set to begin on April 30

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