United Nations human rights chief Michelle Bachelet and human rights officers of the US and European Union (EU) have expressed concern on the death of octogenarian Jesuit priest Stan Swamy, with a few of them saying he had been imprisoned on “false” terrorism prices.
The exterior affairs ministry responded to the criticism on Tuesday by saying “due process under law” was adopted in Swamy’s case, and that India stays dedicated to selling and defending the human rights of all residents.
The UN excessive commissioner for human rights and different UN unbiased consultants had repeatedly raised the circumstances of Swamy and 15 different human rights defenders related to the Bhima Koregaon case with the Indian authorities over the previous three years and sought their launch from pre-trial detention, Bachelet’s spokesperson for Liz Throssell mentioned.
“In light of the continued, severe impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is even more urgent that States, including India, release every person detained without a sufficient legal basis, including those detained simply for expressing critical or dissenting views,” the spokesperson mentioned in an announcement.
“We stress, once again, the High Commissioner’s call on the Government of India to ensure that no one is detained for exercising their fundamental rights to freedom of expression, of peaceful assembly and of association,” Throssell mentioned.
Both Mary Lawlor, the UN particular rapporteur on human rights defenders, and Nadine Maenza, chair of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), contended that Swamy had been held on “false” prices of terrorism. They had been joined by Eamon Gilmore, the EU particular consultant for human rights, in expressing concern at Swamy’s death.
Swamy, 84, died in a Mumbai hospital on Monday. He was arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in a raid at his non-governmental organisation Bagaicha, on the outskirts of Ranchi, on October 9 final year.
He was charged with being a member of the banned Communist Party of India-Maoist and being concerned in a conspiracy to instigate caste violence in Bhima Koregaon village close to Pune in 2018. Swamy denied the fees.
In its response, the exterior affairs ministry mentioned Swamy was arrested and detained by NIA “following due process under law”, and his bail functions had been rejected by courts due to the “specific nature of charges against him”. Authorities “act against violations of law and not against legitimate exercise of rights”, and all suh “actions are strictly in accordance with the law”, the ministry mentioned.
In view of Swamy’s poor well being, Bombay excessive courtroom allowed his therapy at a non-public hospital, the place he obtained “all possible medical attention” since May 28. His well being and therapy had been carefully monitored by courts, the ministry added.
“India’s democratic and constitutional polity is complemented by an independent judiciary, a range of national and state level human rights commissions that monitor violations, a free media and a vibrant and vocal civil society. India remains committed to promotion and protection of human rights of all its citizens,” the ministry added.
The assertion from the UN human rights chief mentioned: “We are deeply saddened and disturbed by the death of 84-year-old Father Stan Swamy, a human rights defender and Jesuit priest, in Mumbai yesterday, following his arrest in October 2020 under India’s Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).”
It famous that Swamy had been held in pre-trial detention with out bail since his arrest and charged with terror-related offences in relation to demonstrations relationship again to 2018.
“He was a long-standing activist, particularly on the rights of indigenous peoples and other marginalised groups. While in Mumbai’s Taloja Central Jail, his health deteriorated and he reportedly contracted Covid-19. His repeated applications for bail were rejected. He died as the Bombay High Court was considering an appeal against the rejection of his bail application,” the assertion added.
Bachelet has additionally raised issues over the usage of UAPA in relation to human rights defenders, a legislation Swamy had challenged in Indian courts days earlier than he died.
Lawlor expressed concern at Swamy’s death in a tweet, saying: “The news from #India today is devastating. Human Rights Defender & Jesuit priest Fr Stan Swamy has died in custody, nine months after his arrest on false charges of terrorism. Jailing HRDs is inexcusable.”
Gilmore tweeted, “India: I am very saddened to hear that Fr #StanSwamy has passed away. A defender of indigenous peoples’ rights. He was held in detention for the past 9 months. The EU had been raising his case repeatedly with authorities.”
Maenza too raised the difficulty of Swamy’s death on Twitter, saying: “Heartbreaking: death of Indian prisoner Father Stan Swamy after he got COVID. He was elderly priest & human rights activist imprisoned on false terrorism charges. @USCIRF spoke out against his arrest & when he was denied bail as his health deteriorated.”