Binayak Sen MBBS, MD – is an Indian pediatrician, public health specialist and activist found guilty of sedition. He is the national Vice-President of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL).
Binayak Sen originally started working as a doctor extending health care to poor people in the rural-tribal areas of the Chhattisgarh state, doubling up as a human rights activist. While Sen has worked with the state government on health sector reform he has also strongly criticized the government on human rights violations during the anti-Naxalite operations, while advocating non-violent political engagement. In May 2007, he was detained for allegedly supporting the outlawed Naxalites, thereby violating the provisions of the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act 2005 (CSPSA) and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1967. The evidence presented against him included his meetings with the jailed Naxalite leader Narayan Sanyal and certain documents allegedly supporting his links with the Naxalites. Sen first applied for bail before the Raipur Sessions Court and then the Chhattisgarh High Court in July 2007, soon after his arrest, but was granted bail by the Supreme Court of India only on 25 May 2009.
On 24 December 2010, the Raipur Sessions’ Court found him guilty of helping the Naxalites, charged him with connections with a banned organization (though widely but incorrectly the charge is reported as treason) and sentenced him to life term. The conviction was criticized by his supporters as politically motivated and based on bogus evidence. Sen is considered by Amnesty International to be a prisoner of conscience.