104, North Block, Central Secretariat
New Delhi 110001
Allow me to turn to you on behalf of Amnesty International Czech Republic to express my deep concern for Soni Sori, a 37 year-old schoolteacher and activist, who is being held in Jagdalpur Central Jail in the Chhattisgarh State.
Soni Sori was arrested in New Delhi in October, 2011. She has been charged, along with her nephew Lingaram Kodopi, with acting as couriers between the mining company Essar and the Maoists.
Amnesty International is concerned about the stigmatization of human rights defenders, often labeled as Maoists. We believe that Soni Sori has been falsely accused and convicted designated a Maoist in an attempt to silence dissenting voices and that she has been arrested solely for expressing her views and criticising human rights violations committed by both Maoists and state forces.
Furthermore, Soni Sori has alleged that the police tortured and sexually assaulted her while she was kept in custody. She claims that a police official forced her out of the cell, stripped her and gave her electric shocks.
Amnesty International calls upon the Chhattisgarh authorities to drop all false and politically motivated charges against Soni Sori and to release her immediately and unconditionally. Allegations of Soni Sori’s torture while in police custody must be promptly and impartially investigated, and any police officers involved should be prosecuted in a fair trial. Soni Sori is entitled to full reparations. Finally, everyone engaging in the peaceful and legitimate human rights activities must be allowed to do so without fear of harassment and intimidation.
Thank you for your attention to this important issue.