Left parties welcome Saibaba's acquittal, demand immediate release of all political prisoners

The Communist Party of India (CPI) described Saibaba's incarceration as "state-sponsored torture".
Prof GN Saibaba. (File Photo)
Prof GN Saibaba. (File Photo)

NEW DELHI: The Left parties welcomed the acquittal of former Delhi University professor and activist G N Saibaba in a Maoist-links case on Friday and demanded the immediate release of all political prisoners in the country.

More than eight years after his arrest, the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court acquitted Saibaba on Friday and ordered his release from jail, noting that the sanction order issued to prosecute the accused in the case under the stringent provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) was "bad in law and invalid".

"CPI(M) welcomes (the) acquittal of G N Saibaba and expresses solidarity with him. Many more continue to be persecuted under false charges. Release all political prisoners immediately," the party said in a tweet.

A division bench of justices Rohit Deo and Anil Pansare allowed Saibaba's appeal, challenging a 2017 trial court order that convicted him in the case and sentenced him to life imprisonment.

Saibaba (52), who is wheelchair-bound due to a physical disability, is currently lodged in the Nagpur central prison.

He was arrested in February 2014. In March 2017, a sessions court in Maharashtra's Gadchiroli district convicted Saibaba and others, including a journalist and a Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student, for their alleged Maoist links and indulging in activities amounting to waging war against the country.

The court had held Saibaba and the others guilty under various provisions of the stringent UAPA and the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

The Communist Party of India (CPI) described Saibaba's incarceration as "state-sponsored torture".

Bombay High Court acquitted Prof. G N Saibaba in the Maoist links case and ordered his release. After years of state-sponsored torture, terror and lies, truth has finally triumphed.

"Struggle for human rights, repeal of draconian laws and release of political prisoners will continue!" it said in a statement.

CPI(ML) Liberation general secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya said Saibaba's acquittal is a victory in the battle against draconian laws.

"G N Saibaba and four others acquitted by the Bombay High Court! Rarely does one hear such good news in today's India. Welcome back, Professor Saibaba! It's a victory for the battle for the release of all political prisoners and abolition of draconian laws," he said in a tweet.

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