Journalists should not be jailed for ‘what they write, tweet and say’: UN spokesperson on Zubair’s arrest

Spokesperson for the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, said, referring to the Alt News co-founder Mohamed Zubair arrested in India.

Delhi Police arrested Zubair on Monday over a “disapproving tweet” he posted in 2018 against a Hindu deity.

Stephane Dujarric, a spokesman for the organization’s Secretary-General, said Tuesday, while responding to a question at the daily press conference here about Zubair’s arrest.

“Journalists should not be imprisoned for what they write, what they tweet and what they say. This applies to anywhere in the world, including this room,” Dujarric said in response to another question from a Pakistani journalist about whether he was also calling for Zubair’s release from detention. .

Meanwhile, the independent, non-governmental New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists, condemned Zubair’s arrest.

“The arrest of journalist Muhammad Zubair represents another infringement of press freedom in India, where the government has created a hostile and unsafe environment for members of the press covering sectarian issues,” said Stephen Butler, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator in Washington, DC. .

“The authorities should immediately and unconditionally release Zubair, and allow him to continue his journalistic work without further interference,” he said.

Zubair’s arrest came days after Gujarat authorities arrested Testa Sitalvad on charges of “criminal conspiracy, forgery and providing false evidence in court to threaten innocents” in the 2002 Gujarat riots.

The United Nations human rights organization expressed concern about the arrest and detention of social activist Sitalvad and called for her immediate release.

“#India: We are deeply concerned about the arrest and detention of #WHRDTeestaSetalvad and two former police officers and call for their immediate release. They should not be persecuted for their activism and solidarity with the victims of the #Gujarat riots of 2002,” the UN human rights organization tweeted on Tuesday.

A court in Ahmedabad on Sunday ruled that Setalvad and former state police chief RP Srikumar be held in police custody until July 2 in the case of fabricating evidence to harm innocent people in connection with the 2002 Gujarat riots. Former IPS officer and accused Sanjeev Bhatt, who He is serving a life sentence in a case of death in custody and is being held in a prison in Palanpur in Banaskantha district, to Ahmedabad under a transfer order.

Setalvad, Srikumar and Bhatt are accused of abusing due process by conspiring to fabricate evidence in an attempt to harm innocent people to commit a capital offense in connection with the 2002 Gujarat riots.

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