Rights Defenders Condemn India’s Political Arrests of Activists

[The arrest of civil rights activists in Andhra Pradesh is a dramatic extension of the state's intensified suppression of rights activists.  Eleven were arrested -- for organizing a press conference, and for organizing a protest petition against -- but police claimed this was only to deal with the "Maoist threat."  Here, below, is the response of civil liberty organizations, followed by a mainstream (police directed) article which equates Maoism with rights activism. -- Frontlines ed.]

October 10, 2014

Detention of civil rights activists in Vishakhapattanam “a threat to constitutionalism, rule of law”: PUCL 

The police thwart the committee’s call for a public meeting in protest against operation Green Hunt, an anti-Naxal operation by the security forces in various the states

Deccan Chronicle: “The police thwart the committee’s call for a public meeting in protest against operation Green Hunt, an anti-Naxal operation by the security forces in various the states”

The People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) has strongly condemned “arbitrary and illegal” detention of civil liberties activists and human rights defenders in Vishakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, on October 9, 2014 when they were trying to hold a press conference at the Civil Library, Vishakhapatnam, to announce a meeting on October 12 to protest against Operation Green Hunt. “The hostile and intimidatory action of the police was supported at the highest level in the state government”, said PUCL, adding, this was clear “when the Vizag police arrested five other human rights activists who had gone to the Camp Office of DIG, Vishakhapatnam Range, to bring to his notice the illegal arrests of their colleagues.”
Signed by Prof Prabhakar Sinha, national president, PUCL, and Dr V Suresh, national general secretary, PUCL, the statement by the influential civil rights group said, “The fact that the Andhra Pradesh police released the activists subsequently does not mitigate from the fact that the government and police’s action constitute a serious threat to constitutionalism, rule of law and fundamental right to free speech and expression, assembly and dissent.”

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Anger Grows Against Hong Kong crony capitalists and China’s capitalists alike

Economic Inequality Underlies Hong Kong Protests

Over the past week, the protesters in Hong Kong have focused on well-defined political demands, with full democratic elections and the resignation of Chief Executive C.Y. Leung at the top of the list. But protesters have also been driven to the streets by a variety of longstanding grievances, many of which stem from the economic inequality which has built up in Hong Kong society, putting the city at the top of The Economist’s “crony-capitalism index,” or list of “countries where politically connected businessmen are most likely to prosper.” The gini coefficient, which measures the gap between rich and poor, is at the highest levels ever for Hong Kong, according to a 2013 report from Bloomberg:

Hong Kong’s Gini coefficient, a measure of income inequality, rose to 0.537 in 2011 from 0.525 in 2001, the government said last June. The score, a high for the city since records began in 1971, is above the 0.4 level used by analysts as a gauge of the potential for social unrest. 

Hong Kong’s close business ties to mainland China, especially since the handover in 1997, have exacerbated these inequalities. But as the recent protests show, economic issues are quickly becoming political for residents of Hong Kong who are missing out on the boom. Neil Gough reports for the New York Times:

China is grappling with a political problem in part because Hong Kong is dealing with an economic one. Underlying the current unrest in Hong Kong, an affluent city of 7.2 million that was a British colony for 155 years before it was returned to China in 1997, is a widening wealth gap. Continue reading

The system tortures, and they call it democracy

The Guardian:  “Gitmo hunger strikes are a cry for help. Why is the US fighting back with secret torture?……..Force-feeding at Guantánamo shames America – not just in the bad old days of George W Bush, but today, in 2014. And you deserve to hear the truth, loud and clear.”

by Cori Crider, theguardian.com, Tuesday 30 September 2014

gitmo fence hand

Gitmo is a warehouse of the forgotten, run by a military that doesn’t know how to treat the sick souls it’s caged without charge for over 12 years. Photograph: Dar Yasin/AP

“Safe, Humane, Legal, Transparent”: so goes the slogan of the world’s most famous offshore prison. It’s an Obama-era rebrand, a bid by Gitmo’s PR people to persuade Americans that today’s is a kinder, gentler Guantánamo Bay. There’s just one wrinkle: Gitmo is still dangerous, nasty, lawless and secretive – and the evidence just keeps piling up.

At the forefront of this war over the truth is the first-ever trial concerning the practice of force-feeding prisoners on hunger strike, due to start Monday. My client, Abu Wa’el Dhiab – a Syrian man who has never been charged, and indeed has been cleared to leave Guantánamo by the US government for more than five years – has been fighting for over a year to reform the way he and other hunger-strikers have been treated. He’s finally about to have his day in court.

But the Obama administration refuses to accept this unusual intrusion of justice into its island idyll. On Friday, US justice department attorneys filed a motion asking the court to hear all evidence in the trial entirely in closed court, save a short, anodyne opening statement from lawyers on both sides. Continue reading

India: Desperate State Police often frames activists with “Maoist-Jackets”

The country needs an anti-fascist force, says activist acquitted after 40 months in jail

Sudhir Dhawale, a dalit rights activist accused of having Maoist links, was declared innocent on May 15.

Aarefa Johari, scroll.in, 24 May, 2014


On May 20, after spending three years and four months in Nagpur Central Jail for crimes he did not commit, dalit rights activist Sudhir Dhawale finally walked out as a free man.

His arrest in January 2011 had outraged social activists in Maharashtra. Dhawale is a well-known poet, political commentator and publisher of Marathi magazine Vidrohi, and had attended a dalit literary gathering in Wardha district just before he was detained by the police. He was charged with sedition and, under the controversial Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, accused of being a member of a terrorist organisation and waging war against the state. Meanwhile in Mumbai, the police barged into his modest home where his young sons were alone, gathered several books as evidence and allegedly coerced his wife to sign the list of seized articles.

Last week, after the prosecution failed to prove even a single case against him, the sessions court finally acquitted Dhawale – and eight other political prisoners – of all charges. His acquittal has come four months after Arun Ferreira, another Mumbai-based social activist who spent five years in jail for being an alleged Maoist, was cleared of all charges against him. Just two weeks before Dhawale’s release, however, GN Saibaba, a Delhi University professor, was arrested by the Maharashtra police for allegedly having links with Maoists.

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‘Saibaba should be treated properly’

deccanherald.com, NEW DELHI, May 24, 2014

Delhi University professor G N Saibaba – arrested on suspicion of Maoist links – is not being provided with the basic provisions that should be given to a disabled prisoner, an organisation working for the disabled said on Friday.

Saibaba, who was arrested by Maharashtra Police on May 9, is wheelchair-bound person with 90 per cent disability.

The treatment meted out to him is in violation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), according to a statement issued by the Disabled Rights Group.

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Indian Political Prisoner, Prof. GN Saibaba, Must Be Freed!

Condemn the abduction of Delhi University Prof. GN Saibaba,
by the Indian state security forces!

While the Indian state and its imperialist masters harp about India’s overall advances and continue to portray it as “the largest democracy in the world”, in the very heart of its capital in Delhi, on May 9, 2014, in broad day light, in full view of CCTV monitored by the local police, the Indian security forces, unashamedly assaulted and abducted Delhi University Professor, Dr GN Saibaba.

After Dr. Saibaba, who suffers from 90% disability and is wheelchair bound, was taken away blindfolded from within the university premises, it took a mysterious call to Vasantha, his partner, from some unknown location in Delhi disclosing it to her that her husband was being taken to Gadchiroli in Maharashtram. Since then, according to the Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners’(CRPP) statement, issued in New Delhi on 10-05-2014, the lawyers in Aheri court in Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra have confirmed that Dr. Saibaba has been produced before the magistrate and was sent into judicial custody.

Dr GN Saibaba’s is a long standing peoples’ rights activist. He is the joint secretary of the Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF) and one of the central conveners of the “Forum Against War on People” that spearheaded the mobilisation of public opinion in India and abroad against the shameful “Operation Green Hunt” – another clean name amongst others for the Indian state’s genocidal war on the tribal people of India – that aims to displace millions of people from this mineral rich area of India and auction off the land and its resources to domestic and international mining corporations to exploit. Continue reading

Testimony on Solitary, the Routine of Torture: “SACRAMENTO: ABOLISH THE SHU TODAY!”

“It is said that no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones.”  ― Nelson Mandela


Video of the Joint Informational Hearing on Segregation Policies in California Prisons in the California Legislature on October 9, 2013.