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'Devastating, Saddened' :United Nations, European Union Representatives On Father Stan Swamy's Death As Pre-Trial Prisoner

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
5 July 2021 2:53 PM GMT
Devastating, Saddened :United Nations, European Union Representatives On Father Stan Swamys Death As Pre-Trial Prisoner
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The death of 84-year old tribal rights activist Father Stan Swamy as a pre-trial prisoner in the Bhima Koregaon case has led to widespread expressions of shock and agony in social media.Eamon Gilmore, the European Union's Special Representative for Human Rights, and Mary Lawlor, a United Nations Special Rapporteur for human rights defenders, have shared their feelings of sadness and...

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The death of 84-year old tribal rights activist Father Stan Swamy as a pre-trial prisoner in the Bhima Koregaon case has led to widespread expressions of shock and agony in social media.

Eamon Gilmore, the European Union's Special Representative for Human Rights, and Mary Lawlor, a United Nations Special Rapporteur for human rights defenders, have shared their feelings of sadness and devastation at the passing away of the Father Stan Swamy.

"The news from India today is devastating. Human Rights Defender and Jesuit priest Father Stan Swamy has died in custody, nine months after his arrest on false charges of terrorism. Jailing HRDs(Human Rights Defenders) is inexcusable," Lawlor tweeted.


Along with her tweet, Lawlor attached a link of a YouTube video where Stan Swamy is seen talking about his work as an activist for the protection of rights of Dalits and Adivasis.

Yesterday, when the news of Stan Swamy being shifted to ventilator emerged, Lawlor had tweeted : "Horrible news to learn that Indian HRD Fr. Stan Swamy is in very serious condition&was put on a ventilator last night.He's spent 9 months in jail on unfounded charges.I'm deeply saddened&expect that every possible specialist treatment will be provided to him".


Eamon Gilmore, European Union Special Representative for Human Rights, tweeted "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".


It may be recalled that the human rights body of the United Nations had earlier this year urged the India Government to release the 16 activists imprisoned in the Bhima Koregaon case.

"We continue to be concerned about the situation of activists detained in India, including in the context of the Bhima Koregaon events. We encourage the authorities to release these individuals, at the very least, on bail while they await trial," the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) had said.

Father Stan Swamy, who was suffering from Parkinson disease and other geriatric ailments, was arrested by the National Investigation Agency in October last year under the stringent anti-terror law UAPA alleging nexus with Maoists.

His death was informed by his doctor to the Bombay High Court while it was considering his application for bail on medical grounds. In May, the Court had directed him to be shifted to a private hospital in Mumbai from Taloja prison. He approached the Bombay High Court after the Special NIA Court at Mumbai refused to grant him bail on medical grounds.

In a personal interaction with the Court on May 21, Stan Swamy had said that he did not want to be shifted to hospital and pleaded for release on interim bail so that he can be "with his own" at Ranchi. He told the court that the prison life had deteriorated his health condition.

'I would rather suffer, possibly die very shortly if this were to go on… my deterioration is more powerful than the small tablets that they give," Father Swamy had said.

'I Would Rather Suffer, Possibly Die Very Shortly If This Were To Go On' : Stan Swamy Pleads For Interim Bail In Bombay HC

When told about the death of Father Swamy today, a bench comprising Justices SS Shinde and NJ Jamdar expressed shock.

"With all humility at our command, we are sorry to know that he has passed away . We are shocked. We passed orders for his hospital admission on the first day", the bench observed.

The body of Father Swamy was directed to be handed over to Father Francis, the retired Principal of St Xavier's College who was allowed to meet him in the hospital by the Court.

"He was a priest. He doesn't have family. The Jesuits are his only family", his lawyer Senior Advocate Mihir Desai told the bench.

Earlier this year, the Bombay High Court had granted bail for 6 months on medical grounds to Varavara Rao, another octogenarian imprisoned in the Bhima Koregaon case. Many of the 16 undertrials in the Bhima Koregaon case are senior citizens. Most of them were arrested at various points in 2018. All of them are awaiting trial to commence.

Father Stan is the founder of Bagaicha, an organisation dedicated to empowering Adivasis, including fighting against illegal detention of minors charged with being Maoists. The NIA has claimed that Bagaicha is connected with Vistapan Virodhi Jan Vikas Andolan (VVJVA) and the latter is also a frontal organisation of the CPI (Maoist).






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