We are writing to ask you to drop all charges against Soni Sori and Lingaram Kodopi and release them immediately and unconditionally.
Soni Sori and Lingaram Kodopi are Adivasi activists who have been in detention in Chhattisgarh since 2011. They are accused of working with armed Maoists.
These charges are false and politically motivated, and are intended to silence their non-violent activism.
We consider Soni Sori and Lingaram Kodopi to be prisoners of conscience who have been arrested solely for questioning human rights violations committed by your government.
Soni Sori has been acquitted in five cases against her and granted bail in one case. Lingaram Kodopi has been acquitted in one of two cases against him.
We are also concerned that there has been no investigation into Soni Sori’s allegations that she was beaten, sexually assaulted and given electric shocks while she was in police custody on 8 and 9 October 2011.
A government hospital that examined Soni Sori under Supreme Court orders had reported that two stones had been inserted in her vagina and one in her rectum, and that she had annular tears in her spine.
The government of Chhattisgarh must investigate these allegations without further delay and bring those responsible to justice. We are concerned that many other Adivasis in Chhattisgarh today are in situations similar to that of Soni Sori and Lingaram Kodopi. We urge your government to respect its obligations under the Constitution of India and international law, and end this abuse of the rights of your citizens. Listening to the concerns of Adivasis will do much more to bring peace to Chhattisgarh than silencing their voices.
Amnesty International India
Delhi Solidarity Group
Human Rights Law Network
Khalra Centre for Human Rights Defenders
Sawajwadi Jan Parishad
Women against Sexual Violence and State Repression