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26.10.16
Urgent Interventions

Joint Press Release: Authorities prolong unlawful detention of Kashmiri human rights defender Khurram Parvez



The Observatory for the Protection of HumanRights Defenders (The Observatory)

The Asian Federation Against InvoluntaryDisappearances (AFAD)

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)

Human Rights Defenders Alert - India (HRDA)

FORUM-ASIA

The International Coalition Against EnforcedDisappearances (ICAED)

Odhikar

Bangkok-Dhaka-Geneva-Madurai-Paris-Quezon City, 26 October2016 – The High Court in Jammu and Kashmir has again prolonged the arbitrarydetention of Kashmiri human rights defender Mr. Khurram Parvez, who has alreadyspent 40 days in jail. Our organisations call on the Indian authorities torelease him immediately.

On 25 October 2016, the Jammu and Kashmir High Courtheard the case against Mr. Parvez filed under the Public Safety Act. Mr.Parvez’s family had filed a petition on 13 October 2016 challenging hisdetention, to which the State failed to respond. However, instead of releasingMr. Parvez, the High Court granted the State another three weeks to respond,sending Mr. Parvez back to Jammu’s Kot Balwal Jail, 300 kilometres away fromhis home, family, and legal counsel in Srinagar. The Court has set the nexthearing date for 14 November, meaning that Mr. Parvez risks spending at least20 more days in arbitrary detention.

On 14 September 2016 Mr. Parvez was stopped fromtravelling to Geneva to participate in the United Nations Human Rights Councilon orders from the Intelligence Bureau, and was arrested 2 days later at hishome in Kashmir under Sections 107 and 151 of the Criminal Procedure Code[1]and denied access to legal counsel.[2]

A judge from The High Court in Srinagar District issued an order for Mr. Parvez’s release on 20September, but police promptly re-arrested him under the preventive detentionprovisions of the Public Safety Act (PSA). He has remained arbitrarily detainedsince, along with hundreds of others individuals detained under the ambiguousand oft-manipulated PSA.

Our organisations denounce this abuse of the PSA bythe Indian authorities to silence human rights defenders and dissidents underthe guise of national security. Almost 800 people have been arrested in centralKashmir since protests broke out in July 2016, with at least 80 of them bookedunder the PSA.

On19 October 2016, several United Nations experts called on the Government ofIndia to release Mr. Parvez, and expressed their concerns regarding thearbitrary application of the PSA against human rights defenders.[3]Nevertheless, the Indian authorities have ignored this call and theirobligations under international law by continuing to hold Mr. Parvez inarbitrary detention.

Ourorganisations condemn the arbitrary use of the Public Safety Act to unlawfullydetain Mr. Parvez and call for his immediate and unconditional release.Additionally, we demand an end to the harassment of human rights defenders andthat the Indian government remove all legal and administrative barriers thatimpede their legitimate work. We also call on the international community,notably the other members of the United Nations Human Rights Council of whichIndia is currently a member, to insist that India comply with its human rightsobligations, including by allowing Indian human rights defenders to freelyengage in their work and to enjoy their rights to free expression, peacefulassembly, and association.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (TheObservatory) was created in 1997 by FIDH and OMCT.The objective of this programme is to intervene to prevent or remedy situationsof repression against human rights defenders. FIDH and OMCT are both members ofProtectDefenders.eu,the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented byinternational civil society.

The Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) is afederation of human rights organizations working directly on the issue ofinvoluntary disappearances in Asia. Envisioning a world without desaparecidos,AFAD was founded on June 4, 1998 in Manila, Philippines.

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) works towardsthe radical rethinking and fundamental redesigning of justice institutions inorder to protect and promote human rights in Asia. Established in 1984, theHong Kong based organisation is a Laureate of the Right Livelihood Award 2014.

Human Rights Defenders Alert - India (HRDA) is a nationalnetwork of human rights defenders for human rights defenders. HRDA intervenes in the cases ofthreats/harassment/attack on HRDs and curbing of freedom of expression,assembly and association.

FORUM-ASIA is a regionalhuman rights group with 58 member organisations in 19 countries across Asia.FORUM-ASIA addresses key areas of human rights violations in the region,including freedoms of expression, assembly and association, human rightsdefenders, and democratisation. FORUM-ASIA operates through its offices inBangkok, Jakarta, Geneva and Kathmandu.

The International Coalition Against Enforced Disappearances(ICAED) is a network of 42 member organisations concerned with the issueof human rights and the struggle against enforced disappearances. The principalobjective of ICAED is maximising impact of the activities carried out by itsmembers in favour of an early ratification and effective implementation of theConvention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearances.

Odhikar, a human rights organisation based in Dhaka,Bangladesh, was founded in 1994 with the aim to create a wider monitoring andawareness raising system on the abuse of civil and political rights.

Formore information, please contact:

· AFAD: Mary Aileen D. Bacalso: +63 2 456 6434

· AHRC: Md. Ashrafuzzaman: +41 766 382 659 / +852 607 32807

· FIDH: Arthur Manet / Audrey Couprie: + 33 14 355 2518

· FORUM-ASIA: Anjuman Ara Begum: +977 982381 5517

· HRDA: Mathew Jacob: +91 886 011 0520

· ICAED: Mary Aileen D. Bacalso: +63 917 792 4058

· Odhikar: Adilur Rahman Khan: + 880 29 88 85 87

· OMCT: Delphine Reculeau: +41 22 809 49 39

[1] Section107 and 151 of the Criminal Procedure Code allow the police to exercise preventive custody of individuals only when there is an imminent danger to thepeace or likelihood of breach of peace in a given area. Such arrests can bemade only when it appears to the concerned police officer that the commissionof such crimes cannot be prevented otherwise.

[2] For more information onMr. Parvez’s arrest see https://www.fidh.org/en/issues/human-rights-defenders/kashmiri-human-rights-defender-khurram-parvez-arbitrarily-arrested

[3] OHCHR, http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=20697&LangID=E

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