Indian opposition leader imprisoned after defamation conviction: U-M experts can discuss

March 29, 2023

Indian opposition leader Rahul Gandhi has been sentenced to two years in prison and lost his parliamentary seat after a court found him guilty of defamation over his remarks about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s surname in 2019.

University of Michigan experts can discuss the situation in India.

John Ciorciari is a professor and associate dean for research and policy engagement at the Ford School and director of the Ford School’s International Policy Center and Weiser Diplomacy Center. His research focuses on international law and politics in the Global South. 

“The use of courts to repress political dissent has been a common feature of democratic backsliding around the world. This type of lawfare is dangerously corrosive,” Ciorciari said. “When courts serve as instruments of power rather than constraints on it, politics amount to little more than might makes right. India’s citizens and its democratic partners abroad will be watching Gandhi’s appeal process very closely.”