'Abuse of Power by Authorities': Amnesty India on Mohammed Zubair's Arrest

Amnesty International India has demanded the immediate and unconditional release of Mohammed Zubair.

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'Abuse of Power by Authorities': Amnesty India on Mohammed Zubair's Arrest
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Amnesty International India on Tuesday, 28 June, condemned the arrest of Mohammed Zubair, Alt News co-founder and fact-checker, and demanded that he be released immediately.

Zubair was arrested by the Delhi Police on Monday, 27 June, for allegedly "hurting religious sentiments" and "promoting enmity" via a tweet he had posted in 2018.

The non-governmental human rights organisation, in a statement, termed the arrest "a clear violation of the right to freedom of expression, abuse of power by the authorities," which "sends a message that dissent is not tolerated in the country."

Aakar Patel, the chair of the board of Amnesty International India, called on the Delhi Police for the immediate release of Zubair.


'Dissent Is Not Tolerated in the Country': Amnesty 

Aakar Patel, in a statement released by the organisation, said that Mohammed Zubair was targeted by the Indian government because of his work exposing discrimination against minorities and debunking false information.

"The arrest of Mohammed Zubair shows the danger facing human rights defenders in India has reached a crisis point," Patel said.

"The fact that he was not provided a copy of the First Information Report (FIR) and was detained incommunicado during the initial hours following his arrest shows just how brazen the Indian authorities have become," Patel said in the statement.

The organisation called on the Delhi police for Zubair's immediate and unconditional release.

"We call on the Delhi Police to immediately and unconditionally release Mohammed Zubair and end their relentless harassment of journalists, human rights defenders, and activists," the chair of Amnesty India said.


Muhammad Zubair's Arrest

Alt News co-founder, Muhammad Zubair, was arrested on Monday and was sent to police remand for one day on the charge of allegedly hurting religious sentiments through a 2018 tweet.

He had tweeted a picture of the signboard of a hotel changed from 'Honeymoon Hotel' to 'Hanuman Hotel' on 24 March 2018.

However, the image was taken from the 1983 comedy film 'Kissi Se Na Kehna', directed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee.

The charges against Zubair include the Indian Penal Code (IPC) Sections 153 (promotion of enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language) and 295A (outraging religious feelings of any class).

On Tuesday, 28 June, the police sought custody of the journalist for five more days and it was granted by Delhi's Patiala House Court.

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