Fr. Stan Swamy, SJ is a 83 years old Indian Jesuit priest incarcerated for alleged anti-national activities. He was arrested on October 8, 2020. The antecedents of this case can be traced back to 1 January 2018 violence against the Dalits across the state of Maharashtra. One Dalit youth was killed and countless of number of Dalits injured. Even though all evidence pointed to the role of right-wing leaders in the violence that erupted after the annual celebration at Bhima Koregaon, the state thought it convenient to foist false cases against human rights defenders who are known to stand up for the poor.
15 others have been incarcerated for the same alleged violations of the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). The state alleges that all these 16 persons are working in tandem with the banned Maoist party that wants to overthrow the elected government.
Fr. Stan is best known for his long years of work on behalf of India’s poorest by becoming one like them and leading their struggles in a non-violent way making use of all the legal instruments to redress the violence against them and reclaim their livelihoods for them. The other 15 co-accused are all eminent human rights defenders known for their dedicated and courageous work in defence of the rights of the indigenous people. Their appeal for bail has been consistently denied by the state.
OHCHR has already taken note of the situation and has appealed to the government of India to honor its obligations under International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. These interventions so far have not brought any relief for the accused.
We request your solidarity in signing the APPEAL that is again being sent to OHCHR and to related special rapporteurs and to the government of India.
You are welcome to sign in your individual capacity or on behalf of the organization that you represent.
Last day to gather the signatures: January 15, 2021.