World urged to help release IIOJK political detainees

Islamabad, March 13, 2021 (PPI-OT): The Kashmir Institute of International Relations, (KIIR) in collaboration with World Muslim Congress, organized a webinar on the sidelines of the 46th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council. The webinar titled “Absence of fair trial for political prisoners, a case study Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir” was addressed by international human rights and humanitarian law experts, academicians and Kashmiri activists.

The speakers included Dr Iqtidar Cheema, FCMI Member, United Nations, Global Steering Committee, Julie Ward, former Member of the European Parliament, Duke Salman Khan, South, Arjun Singh Sethi, Professor of Law, a community activist, civil rights lawyer and writer based in Washington, D.C, Khaled A. Beydoun, Professor of Law at the University of Arkansas School of Law, Syed Faiz Naqshbandi, Convener of AJK chapter of Mirwaiz-led Huriyat forum, Mohammad Umer Butt, Kashmiri activist, Prof. Shugafta Ashraf, University of Kotli, Azad Kashmir, and Altaf Hussain Wani, Chairman of Kashmir Institute of International Relations.

The speakers said, India has failed to comply with the international standards of fair trial. Fair trial is one of the fundamentals of the Universal Declaration of human rights and other conventions, they added.

They said, India is misusing anti-terror legislation against the political leaders and civil society actors and the common man in Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir. The draconian laws like Armed Forces Special Powers Act and Public Safety Act (PSA) are used to suppress the people’s legitimate right to self-determination, they said, adding, these laws have facilitated torture, enforced disappearances and other human rights violations and are obstructing the fair trial.

The speakers said, the people are held arbitrary without trial for years, which is against the international human rights standards. They also denounced the continued detention of Kashmir leaders, Muhammad Yasin Malik, Shabbir Ahmed Shah, Aasiya Andrabi, Masarrat Aalam Butt, Nayeem Ahmed Khan, Dr Qasim Fakhtoo, Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai and others.

These leaders, they said, have been persistently advocating for a just and peaceful settlement of the Kashmir dispute through peaceful means of dialogue and diplomacy. “During their years’ long political struggle they have endured trials and tribulations, imprisonments and detentions in pursuit of their peoples’ fundamental rights”, they said. They added that this was the reason these leaders were being victimized and made to suffer in jails despite suffering from acute ailments far away from their homeland, where they could neither be easily accessed by their family members nor their party workers.

The continuous detention has taken a heavy toll on their physical and mental health. “There are reports that they have been kept 6×8 prion-cells in abysmal conditions are being denied their rights including proper food and right to receive proper medical care, which constitutes a grave violation of the United Nations Charter, international law and other human rights treaties”. The speakers said, Kashmiri leaders have since long been persecuted for their expression of their political beliefs and for raising the banner of revolt against injustices and indiscrimination meted out to the people of the territory at the hands of the Indian authorities.

For more information, contact:
Kashmir Media Service
Phone: +92-51-4435548, +92-51-4435549
Fax: +92-51-4861736

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