ASIA/INDIA - Hackers put ‘evidence’ on Indian Jesuit Stan Swamy’s computer

Wednesday, 14 December 2022 jesuits   terrorism   civil society  

New Delhi (Agenzia Fides) - An American digital forensics firm released a report, which shows that a hacker planted multiple “incriminating documents” in the computer of activist-priest Father Stan Swamy’s computer. Father Stan Swamy was arrested for alleged ties to terrorist groups and died in prison in 2021. The report of the "Arsenal Consulting", a company based in Boston (USA), blasts a hole in the allegations against the Indian Jesuit, which centre around alleged electronic correspondence between the priest and supposed Maoist leaders to make the case that he was part of an explosive conspiracy. The company, contacted by lawyers commissioned by the Society of Jesus in India, says that 44 documents, including the so-called "letters to the Maoists", cited as evidence against Swamy, were implanted on his personal computer by a hacker who managed to access it (via a malware called NetWire) for about five years, from 2014 until 2019, when the PC was seized and examined by the Indian police.
The Indian Jesuit Cedric Prakash, who worked so hard in the last two years to defend Fr. Swamy, told Fides: "We knew Stan and were completely certain of his innocence and good faith. This is proof that Father Swamy was framed. Arrested on absurd charges of collaboration with terrorist groups, he died in custody at the age of 83, weakened by long and unjust imprisonment. Today we hand them over to the National Investigation Agency of India (NIA) so that investigations are carried out and mistakes are admitted. We demand the full rehabilitation of Father Swamy as a completely innocent person, even with a possible 'suo motu' ruling from the Supreme Court of India".
Stan Swamy, a Jesuit priest residing in the Indian state of Jharkhand who worked for the development and emancipation of tribal groups, was severely debilitated in prison and died in hospital after contracting Covid-19. According to the NIA, the Jesuit had participated in a conspiracy, with 15 others, to instigate riots in the village of Bhima-Koregaon, in the state of Maharashtra, in 2018, when dozens of Dalits had gathered to commemorate a historic battle in in which the Dalits defeated an upper caste army. Based on documents found on the defendants' PCs, the NIA also accused the Jesuit and others of conspiring with the Maoists to kill Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Father Swamy always denied his involvement and any charges against him. In a judicial case that made national headlines, the Indian Jesuits and numerous civil society groups have always supported him by declaring his innocence and demanding his release. Arrested in October 2020 on false charges of "sedition", he died on July 5, 2021 while in custody awaiting trial at a Mumbai hospital in western India. (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 14/12/2022)