Protest & Condemnations against Arrest of Khurram Parvez

'He’s not a terrorist, he’s a human rights defender' tweeted Mary Lawlor, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders supporting Khurram Parvez

AISA Activists demand the release of Khurram Parvez

All India Students’ Association (AISA) had organized a protest in which Human rights activists in Bengaluru organized a protest against the arrest of Kashmiri human rights activist Khurram Parvez and demanded his immediate release.

Khurram Parvez is the Chairperson of the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) and also the programme co-ordinator of Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS).

On Monday, 22nd November, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) arrested well-known human rights activist Khurram Parvez in Srinagar after initially detaining him for interrogation in connection with a case on 6th November filed under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), including terror funding.

This has not been the first time that Khurram Parvez has been under the radar of the state and its investigative agencies. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) had raided Parvez’s residence and office in Srinagar, along with the residences of several activists and journalists in the month of October last year.

International Bodies Condemn Arrest of Khurram Parvez by NIA

Mary Lawlor, The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders reacted sharply stating that “I’m hearing disturbing reports that Khurram Parvez was arrested today [Monday] in Kashmir and is at risk of being charged by authorities in India with terrorism-related crimes. He’s not a terrorist, he’s a human rights defender,” tweeted

“We observe with regret that the Indian government intimidates citizens working to secure the values and norms enshrined both in the Constitution of India and in international treaties ratified by the government itself. We appeal to Indian authorities to respect Mr. Parvez’s habeas corpus rights and release him from detention without delay,” Jostein Hole Kobbeltvedt, Director of the Rafto Foundation, a body working for the global promotion of human rights said in a statement that can be accessed here.

CPIML Liberation has issued a statement condemning the arrest of Human Rights Activist Khurram Parvez

The World Organization Against Torture, based in Geneva, also expressed its deep concern. “We are deeply concerned about the high risk of torture while in custody. We call for his immediate release,” the organization said.

Organizations and Activists in India condemn the arrest and raids

Condemning the arrest and raids, Kavita Krishnan, politburo member of CPIML Liberation noted that “the NIA raid on JKCCS and arrest of Khurram are an attempt by the Modi regime to gag those witnessing and documenting the unrelenting rights violations in J&K.”

Parvez was previously arrested in 2016 under stringent Public Safety Act (PSA) in 2016 to prevent him from participating in a session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. He was released after 76 days of prison.

“The raid and arrest comes days after massive protests in Srinagar against the killing of civilians in a security forces’ encounter against militants. The family members of Altaf Ahmad Bhat and Mudasir Gul said that security forces used them as human shields during the encounter and later branded them as militant’s supporters. It was only after a long 72-hour struggle and protest by family members, bodies of Bhat and Gul, hastily buried by security forces were exhumed and returned to their kins for a proper funeral” noted the statement issued by CPIML Liberation in this regard.

Calling for the immediate release of Parvez, All India Lawyers Association for Justice (AILAJ) in a statement said, “The provisions of the UAPA Act effectively ensure that those charged under it can be made to languish for years with no possibility of bail, effectively overturning the presumption of innocence.”

 

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