Mr. Okram Ibobi Singh
Chief Minister of Manipur
Ms. Sheila Dikshit
Chief Minister of Delhi
Subject: END 13 YEAR DETENTION OF IROM SHARMILA
We are writing to urge you to drop all charges against Prisoner of Conscience Irom Sharmila Chanu and release her immediately and unconditionally.
Irom Sharmila has been on an indefinite fast since 2 November 2000, demanding the lifting of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 (AFSPA).
She was arrested by the Manipur police shortly after she began her hunger strike and charged with attempting to commit suicide. In March 2013, a Delhi court also charged Sharmila with attempting to commit suicide in October 2006, when she staged a protest in Delhi for two days.
Irom Sharmila has never been convicted of attempting to commit suicide. She has pleaded not guilty to the charges, and has said she is holding a non-violent protest.
Irom Sharmila is a Prisoner of Conscience, who is being held solely for her peaceful expression of her beliefs. Her hunger strike is a protest against human rights violations, and is different from self-starvation as a way to commit suicide.
As the Supreme Court has recognized, hunger strikes have long been accepted as a legitimate form of protest in India.
We urge you to recognize that Irom Sharmila’s protest is based on principles of non-violence, justice and accountability, like those of many other Indian activists before her.
We ask you to release Irom Sharmila and consider the validity of her demands, not punish her for exercising her constitutional rights.
Amnesty International India
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