The Dossier

UN Experts Urge Indian Government to Release Anti-CAA Protesters

Anti-CAA protesters
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United Nations human rights experts on Friday urged India to immediately release people who were arrested for protesting against the country’s Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) passed last year in 2019.

“Authorities should immediately release all human rights defenders who are currently being held in pre-trial detention without sufficient evidence, often simply on the basis of speeches they made criticising the discriminatory nature of the CAA,” the experts said in a statement.

A statement released by the United Nations Experts said that the arrested defenders, many of the students, are in jails simply because they exercised their right to protest against the Act. Their detention seems clearly plotted in order to set an example to others who want to take a similar step.

Many cases against 11 people such as Safoora Zargar, Sharjeel Imam, Akhil Gogoi and Natasha Narwal, among others, involve serious non-compliance with human rights. There were also allegations of torture and mistreatment.

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One of the most alarming cases concerns pregnant Delhi student Safoora Zargar, who was detained for over two months having allegedly been kept in conditions equating to solitary confinement, denied regular contact with her family and legal representative, and having not been provided adequate medical care or diet. She was finally granted bail on  23 June 2020, in her sixth month of pregnancy, on humanitarian grounds.

The experts further flagged their concern that authorities were invoking counter-terrorism or national security legislation, and using procedural police powers, to deny bail to protesters and issue charges carrying heavy sentences.

“Although demonstrations ended in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and India’s Supreme Court issued a recent order to decongest jails because of health concerns related to the pandemic, protest leaders continue to be detained. The reported spread of the virus in Indian prisons makes their immediate release all the more urgent,” the experts said. частный займ спб срочнозайм круглосуточно онлайнчастный займ под залог недвижимости займ мигом на картузайм без телефонаонлайн займ на карту до 200000

Mahima Joshi

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