UN Special Rapporteur tweets concern at jailed Muslim journalist Siddique Kappan
United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders Mary Lawlor has tweeted her concern over the ongoing detention of Muslim journalist and prisoner of conscience Siddique Kappan, who has been imprisoned since 2020 under false terrorism charges despite international condemnation.
“I am very concerned by the ongoing detention of HRD & journo Siddique Kappan in India. Siddique was arrested in 2020 on way to Uttar Pradesh to cover the reported rape and murder of a young Dalit woman & he has frequently highlighted discrimination in India. Now facing [Unlawful Activities Prevention Act] charges & denied bail,” Lawlor tweeted.
Kappan was arrested in October 2020 while travelling to the Hathras region of Uttar Pradesh to cover the rape and murder of a teenage Dalit girl by caste-privileged Hindu men. Due to his Muslim identity, Kappan has been charged under India’s draconian anti-terror law, known as the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).
The Indian justice system has repeatedly failed to release Kappan from his indefinite imprisonment. Recently, he was denied bail by the High Court of Uttar Pradesh state despite clear evidence that he committed no crime.
Kappan has faced inhumane treatment and conditions while imprisoned, including being beaten, mental torture, and failing to receive adequate healthcare. In 2021, he contracted Covid-19, causing his health to decline to the point where he was transferred to a Delhi hospital for treatment.
The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has listed Kappan on its Freedom of Religion or Belief Victims List, along with over 30 other Indian victims of detention based on religious identity.
Muslim activist held in Madhya Pradesh for opposing the demolition of Muslim properties
Muslim activist Zaid Pathan was arrested under the draconian and discriminatory National Security Act (NSA) for openly criticizing the vengeful demolitions of Muslim homes, businesses, and mosques by Madhya Pradesh state’s Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled (BJP) government.
Following Hindu supremacist mob violence in Madhya Pradesh’s Khargone city earlier this year, BJP authorities collectively and unfairly punished Muslims for defending themselves by bulldozing Muslim-owned homes and businesses.
Pathan had told news outlets that the administration targeted Muslims in their demolition drives, especially those who acted in self-defence against Hindu mobs. He also exposed the fact that Hindu extremist rioters had registered fake police reports against Muslims.
Authorities have reported that Pathan was arrested on the ludicrous charges of “spreading hate among the communities… inciting religious sentiments, and posting objectionable posts on social media platforms,” despite the fact that Hindu extremists routinely use social media to call for mass violence against Muslims.
Activists have slammed Pathan’s arrest on Twitter, calling for his immediate release.
Jailed Journalist Slapped With Two New Cases In Clear Instance Of Judicial Harassment
Independent Rupesh Kumar Singh, who has been jailed since July 17 as punishment for reporting on police brutality against indigenous communities, has been slapped with two new criminal cases in a clear case of judicial harassment. One of the cases is being handled by the Jharkhand state police, while the other is being handled by the National Investigation Agency.
“What we understand from this pattern of a case after case against Rupesh is clear: It is a pattern of conviction without trial, as evident from those arrested in the Delhi riots conspiracy case and the recent arrest of journalist Mohammad Zubair,” said Shyam, Singh’s lawyer.
“The attempt is to ensure that Rupesh rots in jail for a long time,” said Ipsa Shatakshi, Singh’s wife. “The idea here is clear…to pave the way for crony capitalists to function without any questions being asked or them being critiqued.”
Singh was arrested in July following a 9-hour raid on his home in Jharkhand state, under blatantly flimsy charges of “arranging funds for Maoists.” However, Singh has been the target of government surveillance, including through the invasive Israeli spyware Pegasus, for years due to his extensive reporting on police violence against indigenous Adivasis.
In prison, Singh has reported facing inhumane conditions, including being kept in isolation and denial of food and writing materials.