— Mumbai, India — A special Indian court on Monday rejected the bail application of Jesuit priest Fr Stan Swamy SJ, who was arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on 8 October of last year on terrorism charges, and has been in custody ever since. This latest is the second bail application rejected by the court.
The 83-year-old priest has been jailed since October 2020 for his alleged role in inciting riots in Bhima Koregaon in 2018 (a village in India’s western state of Maharashtra) in 2018. He has been charged under multiple sections of the Indian Penal Code, including terror-related offences of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
In a Press communique, Fr Jerome Stanislaus D’Souza SJ, Provincial & President of the Jesuit Conference of South Asia, called the denial of bail a major setback. He added, “We continue to hope and pray that justice will prevail, and Fr Stan will be realised soon and acquitted after a fair trial, as we have deep faith in the Constitution of India and judiciary.”
His lawyer, Advocate Sharif Shaikh, stated in the 31-page bail plea that Fr Swamy was a target of the NIA owing to the “nature of his writings and work” concerning “caste and land struggles of the people in India and violations of the democratic rights of the marginalised citizens of India.
The bail application also stated that Fr Swam is suffering from Parkinson disease, loss of hearing, and acute pain due to lumbar spondylosis. Currently, he is admitted to the prison hospital and is being cared for by his co-inmates.
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