Siddique Kappan walks out of UP Prison after 28 months

Kappan was arrested under anti-terror laws for reporting on Hathras gang-rape case.

Siddique Kappan

Siddique Kappan, who spent nearly two and half years in jail without trial, has walked out of prison, more than a month after he was granted bail in a money laundering case.

Kappan was arrested in October 2020 in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, where he had travelled to report on a high-profile gang-rape case. He and three others, including his driver, were accused of belonging to a Muslim organisation and eventually charged with conspiracy to incite violence.

Kappan was initially charged under various sections of the Indian penal code, before being hit by terror and money laundering charges. He had been granted bail in the terror case by the Supreme Court in September 2022.

His driver, Mohammad Alam, was granted bail last month while the two others remain behind bars.

The police have claimed that the accused are members of the banned PFI and its student wing, Campus Front of India (CFI).

Journalist Siddique Kappan Granted Bail in PMLA case

Kappan’s release comes more than a month after he was granted bail on December 23 by the Allahabad High Court in a money laundering case filed by the Enforcement Directorate.

Speaking to the media after his release, Kappan said that it was a “long fight” to acquire bail and be released. “After 28 months and a long fight, I am out today. I got a lot of support from the media and I am happy,” he said.

Kappan has maintained his innocence and says that he had only travelled from his home state of Kerala to do his duties as a journalist.

“I had only gone to report. What is wrong with that? I was only carrying two pens and a notepad,” he said about the case of a young Dalit woman gang-raped by upper-caste Hindu men in Hathras city in Uttar Pradesh.

Kappan and three others were held in Mathura on October 5, 2020, while heading to Hathras.

The high court in an order passed by Justice Dinesh Kumar Singh had said that “except for allegations that Rs 5,000 was transferred in the bank account of co-accused, Atikur Rahman, there is no other transaction, either in the bank account of the accused-applicant or in the bank account of co-accused”.

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It said that Kappan was entitled to be released on bail as the “proceeds of crime is less than Rs 1 crore and there is no likelihood” of Kappan “to commit the same offence in future”

Kappan had been granted bail by the Supreme Court on September 9 last year in an Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act case after being booked by the UP Police for alleged links with the radical Popular Front of India – the outfit and its affiliates were banned by the Centre on September 28.

While granting Kappan bail in the UAPA case, the Supreme Court inquired what exactly had been found against him, and also noted “the length of custody undergone”.

In December, a Lucknow court framed charges against Kappan and six others in the case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. The other accused are K A Rauf Sherif, Atikur Rahman, Masud Ahmad, Mohammad Alam, Abdul Razzak and Ashraf Khadir.

Journalist rights watchdog, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), welcomed Kappan’s release and demanded that all charges be dropped against him.

India has seen a sharp decline in media freedoms since the BJP government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi took office in 2014.

According to the World Press Freedom Index released by Reporters Without Borders last May, India’s ranking dropped to 150 from 142 among 180 nations.


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April 2024


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