Nearly 400 journalists and civil society members call for release of imprisoned Kashmiri journalist Aasif Sultan

This statement was originally published on cpj.org on 27 August 2020.

August 27, 2020Prime Minister Narendra Modi,
Prime Minister’s Office
South Block, Raisina Hill
New Delhi-110011, IndiaCc: Home Minister Amit Shah
Jammu and Kashmir Lt. Gov Manoj SinhaSent via emailDear Prime Minister Narendra Modi,The Committee to Protect Journalists has joined together with 397 writers, journalists, academics, press freedom advocates, and civil society members to urge you to immediately release journalist Aasif Sultan, who has been imprisoned for two years, as of today.Sultan covers politics and human rights for the Kashmir Narrator, and has been unjustly detained since August 27, 2018, under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, for his alleged complicity in “harboring known terrorists.”

But interviewing alleged militants or having sources who are critical of the government is within the scope of a journalist’s job and does not implicate them in any crime. Events in Kashmir are of public interest, and covering them is a public service, not a criminal act.

Sultan’s trial, which began in June 2019, has been moving slowly and he has repeatedly been denied bail. Police have reportedly interrogated him about his writing and asked him to reveal his sources.

Journalists should not face retaliation for their reporting. Press freedom is a vital tenet of democracy and a proud part of India’s history. We are asking you to recognize and uphold India’s commitment to press freedom under Article 19 of its constitution.

Given the recent deaths of journalists who contracted COVID-19 in government custody around the world, and the spread of COVID-19 among inmates in jails in Jammu and Kashmir, the threat to Sultan’s well-being is significant.

We call on you to follow the Supreme Court’s guidance issued on March 23 to release prisoners on parole due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and grant Aasif Sultan immediate and unconditional release.

Sincerely,

Committee to Protect Journalists

Aakar Patel Journalist
Aamir Ashraf Journalist
Aaqib Bashir Student
Abdul Jabbar Professor and author City College of San Francisco, California, USA
Abdul Motin Ostagar Academic Aliah University, Kolkata
Abhinandan Sekhri Journalist Newslaundry
Abhishek Majumdar Theatre Director New York University Abu Dhabi
Abrar Ahmed Civil engineer
Abu Zafar Journalist
Aditya Naique Software developer
Afaan Iliyas Civil society member
Ahan Penkar Journalist The Caravan
Ahmer Khan Independent Journalist
Ahrar Ronga Business student
Ajaz Ahmad Businessman
Ajeet Singh Journalist Asli Bharat
Ajit Sahi Human rights/press freedom activist
Akhileshwari Ramagoud Journalist
Akiba Goodwin Civil society member Justice for All
Alex D’Mello Human rights/press freedom activist
Alok Laddha Academic
Altaf Qadri Journalist
Amit Bhadhuri Academic Economist & Retired Professor
Amit Prakash Singh Journalist Delhi Union of Journalists
Amitav Ghosh Writer
Ammu Abraham Activist on women’s rights and civil liberties
Amrita Sunita Anand
Anand Jacob
Anand Patwardhan Filmmaker
Anant Phadke
Anara Ibrayeva Lawyer, Kazakhstan
Andrew Whitehead Journalist and Historian
Anees Zargar Journalist
Anil Eklavya Writer
Anil Mehta Cinematographer and writer
Anish Gawande Academic
Anjana Mangalagiri Academic Senior Fellow, Institute of Social Sciences
Ankita Anand Journalist
Ankur Jaiswal Researcher
Annie Philip Journalist
Anupama Potluri Academic
Anuradha Bhasin Journalist Kashmir Times
Anuradha Sharma Journalist
Apoorvanand Academic
Arfa Khanum Journalist The Wire
Arshu John Journalist The Caravan
Arun Kumar Academic Retired Professor
Arvind Sivaramakrishnan Academic
Ashley do Rosario Journalist Fomento Media Pvt Ltd
Ashok Swain Professor Uppsala University
Ashraf Thaivalappu Journalist
Ashvin Kumar Filmmaker/ Actor
Asish Gupta Journalist Bureau Chief, Asomiya Pratidin, New Delhi
Asiya Bashir
Athira Anand Student
Auqib Javeed Journalist Kashmir Observer
Avinash Kumar Human rights/press freedom activist Amnesty International India
Awesh Tiwari Journalist Swaraj Express
Ayesha Ansari Academic
Ayesha Minhaz Journalist
Ayush Tiwari Journalist
Azhar Sheikh Student
Baghambar Pattanaik Human rights activist
Bashaarat Masood Journalist
Basharat Ahmad Businessman
Beena Sarwar Journalist
Bhanuj Kappal Journalist
Bhawna Khattar Writer
Bilal Ahmad Wani
Bilal Bashir Bhat Journalist Only Kashmir
C. J. Werleman Journalist
C. K. Nayak Journalist Member, Press Council of India
Cedric Prakash Human Rights and Peace Activist/Writer
Chandrika Academic
Chitralekha Academic Jawaharlal Nehru University
Christine Engone Student
Daniel John Paul Vanderlaan Roberts Human rights/press freedom activist
Deepak Kumar Retired Teacher
Devender Pratap Academic Fellow, National Council of Applied Economic Research
Devika Mittal Academic Delhi University
Devika Shetty Mental health activist
Dexter Filkins Staff Writer The New Yorker
Dhruva Narayan Writer JANAM Foundation, Patna
Dinesh Khanna Photographer
Dr. A. J. C. Bose Academic Shri Ram College of Commerce, Delhi
Dr. Irfan Hassan Doctor
Dr. Jeelani Pir Academic
Dr. Kamala Upadhyaya Social Worker ASOJ
Dr. Mohammad Reyaz Academic
Dr. Mohan Rao Independent researcher in public health
Dr. Muhammad Abdul Jabbar Human rights/press freedom activist Justice For All
Dr. Muslim Jan Academic
Dr. Nandakumar Prof (Adjunct) of Geography Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit, Kalady
Dr. Nisha Biswas Scientist
Dr. Nurul Islam Academic
Dr. Prakash Louis Academic Indian Social Institute, New Delhi
Dr. Ram Puniyani Academic Centre for the Study of Society and Secularism
Dr. Ross Holder Asia Programme Coordinator PEN International
Dr. Shobha Padmakar Shinde Academic KBC North Maharashtra University Jalgaon
Dr. Siama Illahi Doctor
Dr. V. V. Krishna, FRSN Academic Professorial Fellow, FASS, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
Dr. Vikas Bajpai University teacher
Dr. Zafarul-Islam Khan Journalist Former Chairman, Delhi Minorities Commission
Dunu Roy Environmentalist Hazards Centre
Ehsan Ahmed Sehar Journalism President, Rural Media Network Pakistan
Ershad Mahmud Writer Centre for Peace, Development and Reforms (CPDR), Rawalakot, AJ&K
Fahad Shah Journalist The Kashmir Walla
Faisal Magray Journalist
Faisul Yaseen Journalist
Faizu Bhat Businessman
Faraz Ahmad Journalist
Farooq Shah Journalist
Farzana Yaqoob
Fathima Nizaruddin Filmmaker
Fawzan Husain Journalist Lens Impressions
Felix Padel Writer
Firoz Ahmad Research Scholar
Flavia Agnes Filmmaker and lawyer MAJLIS Legal Resource Centre Mumbai
Freny Manecksha Independent journalist
Geeta Seshu Journalist Free Speech Collective
Geetartha Pathak Journalist Indian Journalists Union
Gopi Shankar Consultant
Gowhar Geelani Author & journalist
Hanan Naqeeb Journalist
Harini Calamur Writer
Haroon Reshi Journalist
Harsh Mander Human Rights worker and writer
Haseeb Yousuf Academic
Hibah Bhat Student and Freelance Journalist
Hilal Ahmad
Hilal Shah Engineer
Iftikhar Ahmed Management Consultant Ahmed and Ahmed
Iftikhar Gilani Journalist
Imtiyaz Pandow Journalist
Inayatullah Din Student University of Hyderabad
Indira Nawagamuwa Journalist
Irfan Malik Civil Service
Irfan Mehraj Journalist
Irfan Shafi Baba Writer
Irfan Tahir Journalist World News Network Ltd UK
Ishtiaq Wani Researcher
Ismat Ara Journalist The Wire
Jacob Copeman Academic Edinburgh University
Jairaj Singh Journalist
Jallees Bashir Engineer
Jamiel Ahmad Academic Kashmir University
Jasim Rasool Journalist Valley Mail
Jawhar Sircar Former Culture Secretary & Ex CEO, Prasar Bharati Constitutional Conduct  
Jayabathuri Journalist Tamilnadu Women Journalists Forum
Jesse Knutson Academic University of Hawaii, Manoa
Jisha Elizabeth Journalist
Jitendra Bhatia Writer Envirotech India
Jo Ann Cavallo Academic Columbia University
John A. Mellman Biostatistician
John Herse Educator
Josep Lluís Alay Professor University of Barcelona
Jyoti Punwani Journalist
K. P. Fabian Academic
Kaisar Ahmad Zargar
Kanthi Swaroop Academic
Karan Thapar Journalist
Kerry PC San Chirico Academic
Khalid Abdalla Actor
Khalid Bashir Gura Journalist Kashmir Life
Kiran Nazish Journalist Coalition for Women in Journalism
Kirity Roy Human rights/press freedom activist MASUM
Krish Raghav Writer
Krishna Prasad Journalist
Kumkum Roy Academic
Lalit Surjan Journalist The Deshbandhu
Lara Jesani Human rights/press freedom activist
Latha Jishnu Journalist Independent
Laxmi Murthy Journalist Free Speech Collective
Lenin Raghuvanshi Human rights/press freedom activist People’s Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR)
Long Houting Journalist
Lord Nazir Ahmad
Lori Dee Desgranges Artist
M Ayub Bhat Radiation professional
M.M.P. Singh Academic Former President, Delhi University Teachers’ Association
Maaz Ishaq Student
Madhu Kankaria Writer
Madhuresh Kumar Human rights/press freedom activist
Mahtab Alam Journalist
Malini Subramaniam Journalist Independent Journalist
Manas Joarder Academic
Mani Shankar Aiyer Former Union Minister (India)
Manisha Sethi Academic
Manjeet Kumar Journalist Saral Tehkikat News Paper
Manoj Kumar Singh Journalist
Manzoor Nowshari Academic KWZ, Germany
Mary C. Scully Writer
Maya Palit Editor
Md. Moniruzzaman Executive Director Aid Organization
Meena Kandasamy Writer
Meena Menon Journalist
Meenakshi Shedde Journalist
Meenal Baghel Journalist
Meghnad Bose Journalist
Mehjabeen S.H.Mansuri
Miguel Belen Filmmaker/ Actor
Mihir Zaveri Journalist President, The South Asian Journalists Association
Mirza Waheed Writer
Misbah Bashir Medical student
Moazum Mohammad Journalist
Mohammad Amjad Hussain Student Student
Mohammad Ashraf Ali Human rights/press freedom activist Right Track
Mohammad Ilyas Bhat Academic SK University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology of Kashmir
Mohammed Hanif Writer
Mohammed Mubashiruddin Khurram Journalist, Writer, Columnist The Siasat Daily
Motilal Nepali Human rights/press freedom activist Dalit Welfare Association
Mritiunjoy Mohanty Academic
Muhammad Anees Academic
Muhammed Sabith Independent journalist (Kerala)
Muhammed Shiyas N Journalist
Mukul Kesavan Writer
Musaib Ahmad Academic
Muzaffar Raina Journalist
Muzamil Bhat Journalist
Muzamil Jaleel Journalist
Muzamil Shah Advocate
Muzamil Sofi
N Ram Journalist The Hindu
Najamul Saqib Human rights/press freedom activist
Nalini Rajan Academic Asian College of Journalism
Namita Bhandare Journalist
Nandita Das Filmmaker/Actor
Nandita Narain Academic Delhi University
Narasimha Reddy Academic University of Hyderabad
Narendra Kumar Writer
Naresh Fernandes Journalist Scroll.in
Nasir Qadri Advocate Legal forum for Kashmir
Nayeem Rather Journalist
Neelima Parvathi Journalist
Neeta Kolhatkar Journalist
Neha Dixit Journalist
Nikhil Mangesh Wagle Journalist
Niranjan Prabhakar Takle Journalist
Nusrat Sidiq Journalist
Omar Hamilton Writer
Owais Ahmad Matoo Businessman
Owais Ahmad Zargar Doctor
P Sainath Journalist
Padmaja Shaw Academic Osmania University
Pallabi Munsi Journalist
Pamela Philipose Journalist The Wire.in
Paojel Chaoba Journalist The Frontier Manipur
Paranjoy Guha Thakurta Journalist, author, publisher and documentary film-maker
Partha Chatterjee Professor of Anthropology Columbia University, New York
Prabhat Patnaik Professor Emeritus Jawaharlal Nehru University
Prafulla Samantara Human rights/press freedom activist Winner of Goldman Environmental Prize (Green Nobel) for Asia in 2017
Prasad Chacko Social Worker
Prasanna Choudhary Writer
Pratap Antony Freelance editor
Pravitha Prabhakaran Journalist
Prem Ram M R Academic
Priyanka Borpujari Independent journalist
Prof. Ismail K. Poonawala Professor Emeritus of Arabic & Islamic Studies University of California at Los Angeles
Prof. Tiplut Nongbri Academic Jamia Millia Islamia
Professor Ananta Kumar Giri Academic Madras Institute of Development Studies
Professor Lyla Mehta Academic
Professor Maitrayee Chaudhuri Academic Jawaharlal Nehru University
Professor Sudhir Chandra Academic Historian
Puthenpura Job Social worker
Qazi Zaid Journalist Free Press Kashmir
Qurat Mir Pharmacist
Rachel Spence Poet, Journalist Financial Times
Radhika Desai Independent Researcher
Rafiq Maqbool Journalist
Raghavan Srinivasan Journalist The Hindu Businessline
Rahil Hussain Dar Journalist
Raihana Maqbool Journalist
Raja K. Khand Civil society member
Rajender Singh Negi Human rights/press freedom activist PUDR
Rajni Bakshi Writer
Rammanohar Reddy Journalist
Ramsharan Joshi Freelance Journalist.
Rana Ayyub Journalist
Ranjan Solomon Human rights/press freedom activist BADAYL
Raqib Hameed Naik News Director TwoCircles.net
Rayan Naqash Journalist The Kashmir Walla
Rayees Ahmed Dar Academic
Rayees Nazir Bhat Academic
Raza Rumi Journalist Park Center for Independent Media, Ithaca College, USA
Ren Touga Academic Beijing Foreign Studies University
Revathi Pogadadanda Journalist
Revathi Siva Kumar Journalist
Rishi Majumder Journalist
Riyaz Wani Journalist
Rohan D’Souza Associate Professor, Kyoto University
Romi Mahajan Writer
Rosamma Thomas Freelance journalist
Rosina Nasir Academic Jawaharlal Nehru University
Ruhail Rafiquie Managing director
Rupa Chinai Writer
S Aayeena Qudrat Student
Saachi D’Souza Writer
Sabah Mubeen Teacher
Sabina Inderjit Human rights/press freedom activist Indian Journalists Union
Sagari Ramdas Veterinary scientist
Sagarika Ghose Journalist
Saima Malik Student
Sajjad Kargili Social activist
Salik Ahmad Journalist
Salil Tripathi Journalist
Salim Bilal Student
Salman Farooq Student
Samar Jodha Artist
Samata Biswas Teaching SCU
Samina Mishra Filmmaker, Writer and Teacher
Samit Basu Writer
Sandeep Bhushan Journalist
Sandeep Pandey Socialist Party (India)
Sandhya Gokhale Civil society member Forum Against Oppression of Women, PUCL
Sandhya Ravishankar Journalist
Sangeeta Barooah Pisharoty National Affairs Editor The Wire, New Delhi
Sanjay Kak Filmmaker & Writer
Sanjoy Hazarika Researcher/writer
Sarah Mathews Human rights/press freedom activist
Saranga Ugalmugle Academic
Sarita Barpanda Human rights/press freedom activist Human Rights Activist
Sashi Kumar Journalist Asian College of Journalism
Satish Misra Journalist
Satyam Varma Journalist
Seema Azad Journalist Dastak
Seema Guha Journalist
Seema Kazi Academic
Sevanti Ninan Journalist
Shaheen Abdulla Journalist
Shahid Tantray Journalist The Caravan Magazine
Shalini Gera Human rights/press freedom activist PUCL Chhattisgarh
Shamshad Ali Journalist NewsX
Sheikh Javaid Ali Academic H A Book House Publishing House
Shivangi Mariam Writer
Shoaib Irshad Activist
Showkat A. Motta Journalist Kashmir Narrator
Showkat Shafi Journalist
Shweta Damle Activist Platform for Social Justice
Siama Illahi Doctor
Siddharth Kalhans Journalist Indian Federation of Working Journalists
Siddhartha Mishra Journalist NewsClick
Simeen Anjum Civil society member
Smita Ramanathan Independent consultant
Snobar farooq Teacher
Sofia Juliet Media professional
Sofia Karim Architect
Somak Ghoshal Journalist
Soumya Shankar Journalist
Stezhka Natella Human rights/press freedom activist
Subhash Mendhapurkar Social Activist
Subrata Beura Film Society Activist Film Society of Bhubaneswar
Suchitra. M Journalist
Sudeep Chakravarti Writer, Journalist
Sudhir Chopra Retired
Sudhir Katiyar Human rights/press freedom activist CLRA
Suhail Sidique Journalist
Suhasini Mulay Filmmaker/ Actor
Sujata Madhok Journalist
Sumanta Banerjee Writer
Sundeep Dougal Journalist
Suraj Kamdar Independent Researcher
Suvir Kaul Professor of English
Sweta Singh Academic Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University
Syed Abid Ali Academic
Syed Ishfaq Altaf Writer
Syed Khalique Ahmed Journalist India Tomorrow
Syed Muhammad Rubban Student
Syed Owais Ali Andrabi Academic
Syed Showket Ali Andrabi Businesses
Tabish Bhat Engineer
Tahir Khan University employee
Tanvi Mishra Creative Director The Caravan magazine
Tessa Farmer Academic
Umaisar Gull Journalist Asia News Observer
Umer Asif Journalist The Kashmir Walla
Usuf Chokte Academic
V Vasantha Lakshmi Journalist Human Rights Forum
Vaibhav Shastry Independent journalist
Venkatesh Narayanan
Venkitesh Ramakrishnan Journalist Frontline
Victoria Schofield Writer
Vimal Bhanot Academic Retired professor
Vinod Dua Journalist
Vinod K Jose Executive Editor The Caravan
Vishakha Khanolkar Teacher
Wafa Hamid Academic
Yashraj Sharma Journalist The Kashmir Walla
YSK Prerana Interdisciplinary Researcher
Yuxuan He Civil society member
Zaffar Quraishi Human rights/press freedom activist
Zahida Qayoom Mir Teacher
Zahir ud Din Journalist
Zainab Rauf Academic
Zeb Khan Journalist Kashmir Peace Forum, Netherlands
Zeeshan Khan Journalist
Zeynep Gurcan Coalition for Women in Journalism
Zhong Qifen Student Beijing Foreign Studies University

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