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(Human Rights Watch/IFEX) - On September 12, 2012, Human Rights Watch reported that political cartoonist Aseem Trivedi was released on bail and will face trial on sedition and other charges.
Trivedi was arrested in Mumbai on September 8, after a complaint that his cartoons mocked the Indian constitution and national emblem. He was charged with sedition under section 124A of the Indian Penal Code, which carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. "Arresting cartoonists for their stinging satire is a hallmark of a dictatorship, not a democracy," said Human Rights Watch. "Aseem Trivedi should be immediately released, and the law that put him behind bars promptly repealed."
Following public protests in Mumbai, the Maharashtra home minister, R. R. Patil, said the police had no grounds to arrest Trivedi. On September 10, the Mumbai police announced they no longer required Trivedi's custody and would not oppose bail. Trivedi at first refused to apply for bail and resolved to remain in judicial custody until the sedition charges against him were dropped.
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Arrest of Indian anti-corruption cartoonist sparks outrage
Source: Index on Censorship
(Index on Censorship/IFEX) - 10 September 2012 - Indian anti-corruption cartoonist Aseem Trivedi has been arrested and charged with sedition, Index has learned.
Trivedi, 25, was held in Mumbai over the weekend for displaying cartoons allegedly mocking the Indian constitution during an anti-corruption protest in Mumbai last year led by campaigner Anna Hazare. Trivedi was charged with sedition under Section 124 (A) of the Indian Penal Code, and also charged under the IT Act and the 1971 National Emblem Act for insulting India's national symbols.
It is understood Trivedi will remain in judicial custody until 24 September. He was originally remanded in custody until 16 September.
Last week Trivedi claimed he would surrender to Mumbai police, who had issued an arrest warrant for him. In January a case of treason was filed against Trivedi, with additional charges brought against him by the Mumbai High Court for insulting India's national symbols.
In a statement yesterday, Justice Markandey Katju chairman of the Press Council of India, defended the cartoonist. "My opinion is that the cartoonist did nothing illegal. In a democracy many things are said, some truthful and others false," Katju said. Speaking to the Wall Street Journal on Friday, Trivedi said his cartoons "did nothing but tell the truth."
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UPDATE: Indian cartoonist released on bail
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What other IFEX members are saying
Committee to Protect Journalists
Index on Censorship