A vigil was held Tuesday evening at the Church of the Redeemer in Squirrel Hill by Pittsburgh supporters of Dr. Binayak Sen, who has been in jail for the past year in India, where he provided medical care and human rights advocacy to poor tribal minorities in a politically turbulent state. Protests are also planned in other U.S. cities and around the world. Dr. Sen is charged with smuggling a letter from a Maoist prisoner he visited, but Dr. Mary Ganguli, a UPMC physician who went to medical school with him, says he was accompanied at all times by a prison official and had no opportunity to smuggle anything. Dr. Ganguli says Dr. Sen spoke out against violence on all sides.
In April, the Global Health Council bestowed on him the Jonathan Mann Award. This week 22 Nobel laureates sent a letter to Indian authorities protesting Dr. Sen's imprisonment under laws that don't meet human rights standards, and they ask that he be freed to continue his work and receive his award in Washington, D.C. on May 29th.