Teacher and Activist Tortured for Criticizing the Government
India, action created 1.6.2013, petition is active
The teacher and activist Soni Sori was arrested in 2011 for allegedly aiding and supporting the Maoist rebels, in spite of the fact that she has always condemned human rights violations by both the rebels and the government.
Amnesty International believes that the charges against her are false and politically motivated, and that Soni Sori is a prisoner of conscience who has been arrested solely for criticizing human rights violations by both Maoists and state forces committed during the armed insurgency.
Teacher and human rights activist Soni Sori was arrested in 2011 for allegedly aiding and supporting the Maoist rebels, who support an armed uprising against the Indian government. Soni while human rights violations on the part of the rebels and the government has always condemned . In relation to the Soni tortured and sexually abused.
The mother of 3 young children, Soni Sori (37), was arrested for supporting the Maoists, though she has worked in the Gandhi Peace organization and acted as an activist criticizing violence and human rights violations as Maoist rebels and government militia. According to Amnesty International, the allegations are false and politically motivated; Amnesty considers Soni a prisoner of conscience, imprisoned only for her opinions and beliefs.
The Indian Maoist rebels, who are radical communists, have been violently struggling against the central government and state authorities for decades. They operate mainly in the central and eastern regions of India and often attack the indigenous group Adivasis. Soni Sori has criticized and condemned all armed conflicts, especially the violence perpetrated by state security forces. Along with her nephew, Lingaram Kodopi, she has also openly criticized the continuing acts of violence by Maoist rebels.
In 2009, the state police tried to recruit Lingaram Kodopi as a special police officer to fight the Maoists, but he refused this position and was consequently detained for 40 days.
After Soni Sori opposed Lingaram's arrest, she was classified as an "absconder," in spite of the fact that she continued going to work. As she no longer felt safe in Chhattisgarh fearing arrest on false charges, she left her three young children in the care of her relatives and trekked through the forests to the nearest town and managed, after a week, to reach Delhi to seek legal assistance. But on 4 October 2011 she was arrested by the Chhattisgarh police and Delhi Crime Branch police at a bus stand.
The Chhattisgarh police wanted to take her back to the state, but she filed an appeal resisting this as she feared for her safety. On 7 October, a Delhi court rejected Soni Sori’s appeal against the state police move to transfer her back to Chhattisgarh. Following this, she was in police custody for two days during transit, accompanied by women police personnel. During this period, she was also intensively questioned. On 10 October, the state police admitted her to a hospital in Dantewada with physical injuries which she reportedly sustained after fainting at the police station where she was questioned. Soni Sori has alleged that she had faced mental torture at the hands of the police.
Following this, she was then sent to a hospital in neighbouring Jagdalpur where she was chained to a hospital bed. Whilst in hospital she went on hunger strike and was later taken to a hospital in Raipur, and after treatment, lodged in Raipur prison. She has been remanded in judicial custody until 31 October. On 20 October, the Supreme Court ordered that Soni Sori be taken to Kolkata for a medical examination within a week; she was taken to Kolkata on Monday 24 October and held in police custody for 24 hours before being admitted to hospital, in apparent contradiction of the supreme court order which had stated she should be kept in jail custody.