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Friday, May 16, 2008

World: Free This Man!

From The Guardian via Raw Story comes news today of a human-rights activist and pediatrician who has been jailed by the Indian government on some very dubious charges.

Dr. Binayak Sen, 58, who treats prisoners and tribal communities for free in the forest region of India's Chhattisgarh state, was arrested last May charged with carrying notes from a member of a Naxalite Maoist rebel movement, who was his patient in prison.

He has protested his innocence of the charges. Under the laws against "turrrrists," he is accused of being a "member" of a terrorist organization, and has been denied bail since his arrest a year ago. If convicted he faces the death sentence.

The article states, in part:
Sen is famous for drawing up one of the most successful community-based primary healthcare schemes in India, based on the Mitanin, the local barefoot health worker who gives the rural poor invaluable advice on preventative health.
Twenty two Nobel laureates have signed a letter to Indian PM Manmohan Singh, calling for Dr. Sen's release. The Mitanin "barefoot doctor" program for which Dr. Sen is responsible is based on educating and empowering rural women and tribal women in health care.

If you are a member of Amnesty International, you can find out more about their campaign to free Dr. Sen here. For information about actions taking place in North America in support of Dr. Sen, see here. More information about Dr. Sen is available here.

It's simply scandalous that Bush and Cheney, who are responsible for the deaths of over 1 million people and the grievous wounding and possible permanent harm to over 1 million more are free to walk around, while a man who provided health care to sick children, prisoners, and poor people, is sitting in jail.

Feel free to write the Indian Embassy as well, and remember, honey draws more flies than vinegar. In other words, keep it sweet. No matter how much disgust you feel.

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