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'Uninformed, Unhelpful': India Responds to Germany's Comments on Zubair's Arrest

"Uinformed comments are unhelpful and should be avoided," Arindam Bagchi asserted.

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India
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India on Thursday, 7 July, asserted its disapproval of Germany's criticism of Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair's arrest, saying the independence of the country's judiciary is well recognised and that "uninformed" comments are "unhelpful" and should be avoided.

"In itself it's a domestic issue. Let me emphasise that there is a judicial process underway in this case and I don't think it would be appropriate for me, or anyone else, to comment on a case that is sub-judice," External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said at a press briefing.

"I think the independence of our judiciary is well recognised and uninformed comments are unhelpful and should be avoided," Bagchi asserted.

The Centre's statement comes after the Federal Foreign Office of Germany made some strong remarks regarding press freedom in India and the arrest of fact-checker Mohammed Zubair.
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"India describes itself as the world's largest democracy. So one can expect democratic values like freedom of expression and freedom of the press to be given the necessary space there," an official of the German foreign ministry had said.

"Journalists should not be persecuted and imprisoned for what they say and write. We are indeed aware of this specific case and our embassy in New Delhi is monitoring it very closely," the official had stated.

He said the European Union has a human rights dialogue with India and the freedom of expression and freedom of the press are a focus of those discussions.

Zubair was arrested on 27 June over an "objectionable tweet" he had posted in 2018. An anonymous Twitter account had raised a complaint against the tweet, tagging the Delhi Police.

The arrest has been widely condemned, with Amnesty India noting that the police action is "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."

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