Solidarity Committee for Burma's freedom fighters

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Kolkata, Mar 29: The Solidarity Committee for Burma's Freedom Fighters today expressed concern that the trial of 34 freedom fighters in Presidency jail could not proceed as no judge was appointed in place of the one transferred in September 2007.

As a result of the transfer of the Sessions Court judge, there had been no proceedings for the past seven months even though the Supreme Court had directed the former to hold daily trial vide its order of September 2006. 34 Burmese freedom fighters are languishing in the jail for more than ten years. The judge of the City Sessions Court had, in his judgement dated February 29, 2008, stated that the chief judge had informed the High Court about the problem and the delay meant that the prisoners were being denied their right to a fair trial, a statement released by the Committee said.

In a letter to Calcutta High Court Chief Justice Surendra Singh Nijjar, Dr (Col) Lakshmi Sehgal expressed her shock that the Apex Court's order "can be flagrantly violated".

''It is indeed shocking that we cannot even ensure that the Burmese freedom fighters are given a fair and speedy trial as is the right under the Constitution of India,'' she said.

The Solidarity Committee had also filed a formal complaint before the West Bengal Human Rights Commission seeking compensation to one Thein Oung Gyaw and other Burmese for the 'suffering' they had to undergo as a result of the attack on them on December 18,2006 when more than 400 convicts attacked them and the jail authorities filed a false case against one of the freedom fighters.


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