WASHINGTON: National Press Club leaders on Monday urged the Government of India to release Aasif Sultan, a Kashmiri journalist who has been detained for two and a half years.
Asif, a reporter for the Kashmir Narrator, was arrested in August 2018 on an unwarranted charge of harbouring militants, although all he had done was interview and write about them, it said.
“Since he was imprisoned, almost all of his scheduled court dates in his trial have been postponed. His fate remains uncertain.
He is at risk of contracting COVID-19 in crowded prison conditions. His father has a heart condition, and his entire family is distraught,” it added.
Sultan’s next court date is set for Feb. 26. As that date nears, National Press Club President Lisa Nicole Matthews and National Press Club Journalism Institute President Angela Greiling Keane issued the following statement:
“The National Press Club recognized Aasif Sultan with a 2019 John Aubuchon Press Freedom honor, singling him out among the world’s many journalists under duress, because his mistreatment was so egregious and because he was one of many journalists and citizens whose rights were abused in Kashmir.”
“Sultan remains in prison, and that is simply wrong. All he did was his job. On behalf of journalists everywhere, we say: it is past time for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to do what is necessary to allow Mr. Sultan to rejoin his family.”