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Khurram Parvez still illegally detained, despite High Court order for his release

Bangkok-Dhaka-Geneva-Paris-QuezonCity, 29 November 2016 – Kashmiri human rights defender Mr. Khurram Parvezremains in arbitrary detention, despite a High Court order declaring hisdetention illegal and ordering his release. Our organisations are appalled atthis abuse of power and demand the immediate and unconditional release of KhurramParvez.

Last Friday 25 November 2016, the High Court of Jammuand Kashmir in Srinagar quashed the order of detention and ordered the releaseof Mr. Khuram Parvez, Chairperson ofthe Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearance (AFAD) and ProgramCoordinator of Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS),who has been arbitrarily detained since 16 September. However, police atJammu’s Kot Balwal Jail, where Mr. Parvez was being held, refused to releasehim, claiming there was a typing error on the Court order. A new Court orderfor his release was therefore issued on Tuesday 29 November, but instead ofreleasing Mr. Parvez, officials from the counter-intelligence wing of Jammu& Kashmir Police took Mr. Parvez to the Joint Interrogation Centre atMeeran Sahib, Jammu. No information regarding the grounds of his continueddetention was provided to Mr. Parvez or to his legal counsel.

We recall that on 20 September, the Principal Districts and Sessions Judge ofSrinagar had also quashed the charges against Mr. Parvez and ordered theauthorities to release him from jail. However, this order was also ignored and thepolice re-arrested him under the preventive detention provisions of the PublicSafety Act of 1978 (PSA). TheJudge at the Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Friday notably observed: “Asociety, which has catapulted itself to the highest position of democraticvalues and principles, may not accept the law like the Act of 1978.”

TheHigh Court Judge concluded that the detention of Mr. Parvez “is not onlyillegal but [that] the detaining authority has abused its powers in orderinghis detention”. He also found that Mr. Parvez has not been provided thedocuments relevant to his detention, and has therefore been deprived of theopportunity to effectively appeal his detention. The authorities have alsomanipulated the courts and used administrative delays to prolong Mr. Parvez’sarbitrary detention, which now totals more than 74 days.[1]

TheHigh Court Judge also stated that “it is the duty of the State and itsauthorities to maintain peace in the society but it is equally theirresponsibility to ensure that laws, which they invoke to achieve such purpose,are followed and complied with honesty”. The refusal by police to obey Courtorders and re-arrest Mr. Parvez is an abuse of power and a violation of therule of law and basic human rights.

Our organisations recall that just before his arbitrary arrest,the authorities prevented Mr. Parvez’s from travelling to Geneva to speak at the UnitedNations about enforced disappearances in Kashmir. We condemn this repressionand the arbitrary arrest of Mr. Parvez, which seem aimed at silencing his workas a human rights defender, and are a violation of India’s obligations underinternational law to allow human rights defenders to freely engage in theirlegitimate work without fear of reprisals or repression. We take this opportunity to call on India to removethe obstacles preventing the work of human rights defenders, particularlythose working on the issue ofenforced disappearance, and to finally ratify theInternational Convention for the Protection of All Persons from EnforcedDisappearance, which India signed in 2007 but has still refused to ratify andimplement nationally.

We call for the authorities to immediatelyand unconditionally release Mr. Parvez, in compliance with both the High Courtorder and India’s human rights obligations, and to ensure that he is notsubjected to further repression or reprisals for his important human rightswork.


TheObservatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (The Observatory) was created in 1997 byFIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT). The objective of thisprogramme is to intervene to prevent or remedy situations of repression againsthuman rights defenders. FIDH and OMCT are both members of, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanismimplemented by international civil society.

The Asian Federation Against InvoluntaryDisappearances (AFAD) is a federation ofhuman rights organizations working directly on the issue of involuntarydisappearances in Asia. Envisioning a world without desaparecidos, AFAD wasfounded on June 4, 1998 in Manila, Philippines.

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) works towards the radical rethinking and fundamental redesigning ofjustice institutions in order to protect and promote human rights in Asia.Established in 1984, the Hong Kong based organisation is a Laureate of theRight Livelihood Award 2014.

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 EnforcedDisappearances (ICAED) is a network of 42member organisations concerned with the issue of human rights and the struggleagainst enforced disappearances. The principal objective of ICAED is maximisingimpact of the activities carried out by its members in favour of an earlyratification and effective implementation of the Convention for the Protectionof all Persons from Enforced Disappearances.

Odhikar, a humanrights organisation based in Dhaka, Bangladesh, was founded in 1994 with theaim to create a wider monitoring and awareness raising system on the abuse ofcivil and political rights.

[1] For more information, see our jointstatement from 26 October 2016.

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