Indian court suspends life term of Maoist rebel

Narayan Sanyal

NEW DELHI, May 7 (UPI Asia) – India’s Supreme Court Monday freed a septuagenarian Maoist rebel on bail and suspended the life imprisonment sentence given him in 2010 after being convicted for sedition.

Supreme Court Justices G. S. Singhvi and S. J. Mukhopadhaya said they were giving him bail because he was 78 years old and had already been in jail six years.In 2010, a court in the eastern Indian state of Chhattisgarh had convicted Sanyal, a leader of the outlawed Communist Party of India (Maoist), with two others.

The case shot to international attention in 2008 when noted human rights activist Binayak Sen was implicated in the case for visiting Sanyal in prison.

Police had alleged that Sen, a doctor, had delivered messages to Sanyal on the pretext of visiting him in prison to treat him as a doctor.

The Chhattisgarh judge had given him five years in jail under India’s controversial Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.

Sen’s arrest was met with an outcry nationwide as he is a vice president of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties, an Indian group critical of alleged police excesses. Several Nobel laureates wrote to the Indian government appealing for his release.

The Supreme Court had granted bail to Sen in April last year.

Both Sen’s and Sanyal’s appeals against their conviction are pending with the Chhattisgarh High Court.

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