A team of European Union (EU) observers reached Chhattisgarh on Sunday to attend the first hearing of rights activist Dr Binayak Sen’s appeal against the life term awarded to him for sedition.
The EU team along with eminent lawyer Ram Jethmalani, who has offered to represent Sen in his appeal in the Chhattisgarh high court at Bilaspur on Monday, reached Raipur around 9.20 pm. A handful of people shouted slogans against the EU team and held up placards urging them to go back, outside the airport as the members emerged.
The ministry of external affairs had forwarded a request from the EU to the state government that its members wanted to watch the proceedings in the high court. The state government had reportedly forwarded the Centre’s request to the high court.
Raipur range inspector general of police Mukesh Gupta said the team would leave for Bilaspur, 120 km east of Raipur, on Monday.
On December 24, Raipur sessions court convicted Sen, 58, along with Maoist ideologue Narayan Sanyal and Kolkata businessman Piyush Guha for colluding with outlawed CPI (Maoists) to help set up the outfit’s urban network.
We are waiting for outcome: UN official
Earlier, reacting to a query on Sen, Margaret Sekaggya, the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights, said in New Delhi: “We are waiting for the outcome of the case. We want to see how the case is going to be handled by the courts.” The senior UN envoy also demanded repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act and the Public Safety Act on the ground that these laws were being misused in insurgency-affected Jammu and Kashmir and several north-eastern states.