Authorities in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh -- the epicenter of India's struggle against Maoist rebels -- released activist Binayak Sen following a Supreme Court ruling granting him bail in a controversial sedition case, reports the BBC.
In a decision that was roundly criticized locally as an attack on free speech and a violation of human rights, earlier this year a Chhattisgarh court sentenced Sen to life in prison for allegedly conspiring with the Maoists, setting up bank accounts and carrying messages on behalf of imprisoned rebels. In its bail ruling last week, the Supreme Court seemed to undercut the lower court's sentence even before it rules on Sen's appeal, saying: Sen "may be a sympathiser [of Maoists] but it did not make him guilty of sedition".
Sen had already spent some two years in jail without trial before he was awarded the life sentence.
Earlier this year, I argued that India's attempts at "punishment by trial" have exposed the failures of its justice system. Maybe the Supreme Court plans to put it right -- too late.