American Bar Association Appeals For Zargar’s Immediate Release

The Center urged the Court to uphold India’s moral & legal obligations and order the immediate release of Zargar.

Published13 Jun 2020, 08:40 AM IST
India
2 min read

The American Bar Association Center for Human Rights has appealed for the immediate release of 27-year-old Jamia Milia Islamia scholar and anti-CAA protestor Safoora Zargar who is lodged in Tihar Jail since early April this year.

Taking note of Zargar’s case, the centre has said, “International law, including treaties to which India is a State party, only permit pre-trial detention under narrow circumstances which do not appear to have been met in Ms. Zargar’s case.”

It further noted that in the list of Zargar’s pregnancy and the risk of contracting the novel coronavirus, her arrest is “unreasonable”.

On 4 June, Patiala House Court rejected her bail application as the sessions judge ‘did not find merits in the bail application’.

‘Zargar Should be Allowed to Furnish Bail Bond’

Referring to her medical condition, lack of evidence, and prosecutions failure in proving how will she pose a threat if given bail, the centre says that the scholar should be given the “opportunity to furnish a bail bond and be in her home with her family until the appropriate time for her legal hearings.”

“The Center urges the Court to uphold India’s moral and legal obligations given the pandemic and order the immediate release of Mrs. Zargar,” the report reads.

The centre has also mentioned that in its report that “pre-trial detention should not be mandatory for all defendants charged with a particular crime without regard for individual circumstances” adding that “it is unclear why alternatives to pretrial detention were not considered adequate by the court in this case.”

ABA has also raised concerns about overcrowding and COVID-19 testing in Tihar Jail. Stating Supreme Court’s order in which it asked the state governments to consider releasing prisoners on parole because of the spread of coronavirus, the centre has noted that she is still in jail despite her medical condition.

‘Slanderous Online Campaign’

Taking note of the slanderous online campaign against Zargar, the centre said, “Zargar has also been the victim of a slanderous online campaign, including falsified and explicit images of her being shared online and through WhatsApp messenger.”

Following this campaign against Zargar, the Delhi Commission for Women had demanded Delhi Police Cyber Cell should take action.

Zargar was arrested on 10 April and was subsequently slapped with the strict anti-terror law Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) under FIR number 59 that is investigation the NE Delhi riots.

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