Khurram Parvez’s judicial custody extended amid calls for his immediate release
Srinagar: Amid calls from the various international human rights organization seeking an immediate release of prominent Kashmiri human rights defender Khurram Parvez, the Delhi court on Thursday extended the judicial custody of the activist till January 21, 2022.
Parvez was arrested on November 22, 201, following a raid by the sleuths of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) of India at his residence and office in Srinagar.
After spending a month in NIA jail, the Delhi court has extended his custody today, Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) said in a tweet.
“Amid UN experts calling for his immediate release, a Delhi court today extended Khurram’s judicial custody till 21st January 2022,” the federation said in the tweet.
Reiterating the call to release Parvez, the federation said it stands in solidarity with the human rights defenders. “Those speaking for justice cannot be silenced,” the federation said.
Earlier, on Wednesday, a Twitter storm was started by various human rights organizations calling on the Government of India to release the activist on an immediate basis as the activist had completed a month in the NIA custody.
The campaign was initially started by Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) for two days- December 21, and 22, urging the GoI for the activist’s release.
However, a number of organizations later joined in, seeking Parvez’s immediate release. 28 British parliamentarians have also written to the Indian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom expressing their concerns over “human rights violations and the illegal detention of Khurram Pervez”.
UN Special Rapporteurs also urged the Indian authorities to stop “targeting” Parvez, who completed one month in prison today.
“Parvez has worked extensively to document serious human rights violations, including enforced disappearances and unlawful killings in Kashmir. In his search for accountability, Parvez has been the victim of a number of incidents of reprisals reportedly for sharing this information with the United Nations, as documented in various reports of the Secretary-General and communications from UN special procedures mandate holders,” UN said in its latest statement.
“We are concerned that one month after Parvez’s arrest, he is still deprived of liberty in what appears to be a new incident of retaliation for his legitimate activities as a human rights defender and because he has spoken out about violations,” it said.
The statement added, “in view of this context of previous reprisals, we call on the Indian authorities to immediately release him and ensure his rights to liberty and security.”
Parvez, who was arrested on 22 November 2021 on charges related to conspiracy and militancy under Indian counter-terrorism legislation — the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) — is presently detained at the Rohini Jail Complex, one of the three most overcrowded and unsanitary prisons in the country, where there is a clear and immediate risk to his health and safety, in particular from COVID, the statement added.
The amendment introduced in July 2019 to the UAPA, allows any individual to be designated as a “terrorist”, bypassing the requirement to establish membership or association with banned groups.
“This expansion of State agencies’ discretionary powers under the anti-terror law has resulted in a worrisome rise in the number of arrests across India – and especially in Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir,” the statement added.
News Desk | Free Press Kashmir