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Sedition dropped but other charges hover over Indian cartoonist

(CPJ/IFEX) - 18 October 2012 - The following is a CPJ blog post by Sumit Galhotra, CPJ Steiger Fellow:

After intense public pressure, the Maharashtra state government last week dropped the charge of sedition against Indian cartoonist Aseem Trivedi. However, Trivedi still faces other charges as his case resumes tomorrow at the Bombay High court.

The 25-year old cartoonist, who was arrested on September 8, could have been sentenced to life imprisonment if convicted of sedition. He still faces up to three years in prison for other charges including violation of the Prevention of Insult to National Honour Act and Information Technology Act, his lawyer Vijay Hiremath told CPJ by e-mail.

Trivedi's legal team is in touch with India's Home Ministry in a bid to get the remaining charges dropped, Alok Dixit, Trivedi's friend and founder of Internet freedom campaign Save Your Voice, told CPJ by phone. "We are pleased that the sedition charge has been removed as [the Home Ministry] promised," he said. "But we are prepared to fight the remaining charges."

Trivedi will be absent from tomorrow's hearing, according to his lawyer, as the young cartoonist is currently being filmed as a contestant on the TV show "Bigg Boss," India's equivalent to "Big Brother."

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