Afrique Ameriques Europe Moyen-Orient Internet Nations unies
 
India 13 January 2003

Kashmiri journalist free after seven months in detention

Reporters Without Borders (Reporters Sans Frontières) welcomed the release today of Indian journalist Iftikhar Gilani but regretted that it came after seven months of detention without evidence and without trial. The organisation supported the request for compensation his lawyer plans to make to the government for the damage to his reputation as a journalist and his arbitrary detention.

"This is a humiliating defeat for the interior minister, who abused his power, and a belated but substantial victory for press freedom in India," Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Robert Ménard said.

On January 13, he correspondent of the Kashmir Times of India and Daily Times and The Nation of Pakistan, Gilani was released from Tehar prison in New Delhi. On leaving the prison he said: "It is a lesson for everyone and also for those journalists who believed the prosecutor’s theory without checking the facts... Nothing can compensate for the freedom of an individual."

Gilani was detained on 9 June 2002 by a team of policemen and tax officials. The police accused him first of fraud, then pornography and finally of having plans of the Indian military presence in Kashmir on his laptop. He was formally arrested on 10 June under the official secrets act. His detention was initially provisional, but was extended eight times.

Journalists in Kashmir held demonstrations calling for his release throughout the period of his detention. Reporters Without Borders said in September: "The charge of spying for a foreign power is a big favourite of governments trying to silence or intimidate journalists who criticise (...) This charge is not based on anything concrete."

In June, V. K. Ohri, Gilani’s lawyer proved to the court handling his case that the documents he had on his laptop were freely available on an Internet site. An Indian military intelligence official confirmed to the judge on 23 December that nothing secret had been found on Gilani’s computer. As a result, the Indian government was forced to drop their case and on January 10 asked the court to release him.




In this country
25 March - India
Newspaper editor gunned down in Assam
18 December - India
Journalist Lenin Kumar Roy and two assistants freed on bail
27 November - India
Journalist investigating drug trafficking gunned down in Bihar state
24 November - India
Journalist gunned down in Assam, second to be killed on northeast in past week
19 November - India
Trainee journalist gunned down in Manipur, local media stage protests

in the annual report
India - Annual report 2008
India - Annual report 2007
India - Annual report 2006

reports
4 May 2009 - Nepal
Mission report : A call to end violence and impunity
2 April 2009 - Pakistan
Fact-finding visit by Reporters Without Borders to Swat “valley of fear”
16 March 2009 - Afghanistan
Report of fact-finding mission : Press freedom in free-fall in run-up to presidential election
archives

Asia archives
2009 archives
2008 archives
2007 archives
2006 archives
2005 archives
2004 archives
2003 archives
2002 archives
2001 archives
2000 archives

Asia press releases
3 June - North Korea
Pyongyang judges asked to be lenient with two American journalists
3 June - Afghanistan
US forces arrest a journalist in Khost
3 June - China
“Tank Man” photo displayed outside Chinese embassy in Paris on eve of Tiananmen Square massacre
2 June - China
Blocking of Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and Blogger deprives Chinese of Web 2.0
2 June - Sri Lanka
Press freedom activist badly beaten in Colombo, hospitalised