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Front Line Defenders concerned over arrest, harassment of Khurram: JKCCS

SRINAGAR (KNS): Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society of Kashmir (JKCCS) on Saturday said that Front Line Defenders are concerned over the harassment, arrest and detention of human rights defender Khurram Parvez, which it believes to be directly linked to his peaceful and legitimate activities in documenting human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir, including enforced disappearances.

In a statement issued to KNS, JKCCS said that the Front Line Defenders urged the authorities in India to immediately and unconditionally release Khurram Parvez, and drop all charges against him, as Front Line Defenders believes that he is being held solely as a result of his legitimate and peaceful work in the defence of human rights.

They further urged that the authorities to lift the travel ban on Khurram Parvez, as it is believed that this measure has also been taken against him for his human rights work. “Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in India are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions,” they added. 

The statement further reads that on 20 September 2016, following an order from a judge to release Mr Khurram Parvez from preventive detention, the human rights defender was immediately detained a second time by police in Kupwara under the Public Safety Act. He was then transferred to Kot Bhalwal jail in Jammu on 21 September 2016.

Khurram Parvez is the Chairperson of the Asian Federation against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD), a collective of 13 non-governmental organizations from ten Asian countries, that campaign on the issue of enforced disappearances.

He is also the Programme Coordinator of the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS), which is a coalition of various campaign, research and advocacy organisations based in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, which monitor and investigate human right abuses.

He was scheduled to brief the 33rd session of the United Nation Human Rights Council regarding the latest acts of violence in Kashmir, following the killing of the Kashmiri separatist leader Burhan Wani on 8 July 2016.

As per the statement, On 14 September 2016, the human rights defender was stopped by immigration officials at the Indira Gandhi International airport in Delhi, and prevented from travelling to Geneva to attend the 33rd session of the United Nation Human Rights Council. “He was detained for 1.5 hours at the airport and was informed by immigration officials that due to orders from the Intelligence Bureau, he could not travel to Geneva,” the statement added.

“Despite requests from Khurram Parvez of a written statement detailing his travel ban, he was not given any from the Intelligence Bureau. It is alleged by police that on 15 September 2016, Khurram Parvez incited people to throw stones and march towards the Tourist Reception Centre in Srinagar. On 16 September 2016, at approximately 12:30a.m., police arrested Khurram Parvez, and detained him in Kothi Bagh police station, Srinagar,” they added.

The statement further adds that Khurram was not notified of the reason for his detention, nor allowed access to a lawyer. JKCCS submitted a number of applications for his release based on the illegality of his detention, On 20 September 2016; a judge ordered the release of Khurram Parvez from preventive detention. “A copy of this order was sent to the superintendent of the location where Khurram Parvez was being detained in Kupwara since 16 September, and he was subsequently released. However, the human rights defender was detained again immediately by police under the Public Safety Act, but no further details were given of the charges he faces,” they said.

They said that on 21 September 2016, the lawyer of Khurram Parvez questioned the acting Chief Judicial Magistrate regarding the continuous judicial harassment of Khurram Parvez despite the court order which issued his release. Khurram Parvez was later transferred to Kot Bhalwal jail in Jammu, 300km away from his family and legal team. (KNS

Source: Kashmir News Service

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