Activist Binayak Sen, who last week got bail from the Supreme Court in a case of sedition, has been awarded a prestigious South Korean award for human rights for 2011.
The Gwangju award, announced on Thursday by the 2011 Gwangju Prize Committee in Seoul, is presented to those working on peace, democracy and justice issues in Asia. Carrying a sum of $50,000, it has been conferred on Sen for his contribution in the field of human rights and democracy.
"Sen has provided health services for the poor and by his strong advocacy against human rights violations and structural violence inflicted on the poor in Chhattisgarh. Apart from that, he has also been active in the People's Union for Civil Liberties documenting human rights violations occurring during the anti-Naxalite (Maoist) conflict," said a member of the prize committee.
Arrested in May 2007 on charges of links with the outlawed Maoists, Sen was convicted by the additional session judge of Raipur Dec 24, 2010, for waging war against the state, entering into criminal conspiracy and sedition. The Chhatisgarh High Court Feb 10 rejected Sen's plea seeking the suspension of sentence and bail during the pendency of his appeal.
He was granted bail by the Supreme Court April 15, with the court observing there was no case of sedition against Sen and he was at best a Maoist sympathiser.