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Back Activities Alerts Action Alert: India/Israel – Write letters demanding due process for Syed Kazmi

Action Alert: India/Israel – Write letters demanding due process for Syed Kazmi

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Kazmi must be either charged or released.

Contents

1. Summary
2. Background
3. Action required
4. Sample letter

1. Summary

Syed Mohammad Ahmad Kazmi has been under police custody in India since 6 February. He is yet to be charged, and Delhi police are continually extending his detention.

Write letters and emails to the General Secretary of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), Michelle Stanistreet; and the Chair-Rapporteur for the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention Malick Sow. Request that they intervene to ensure that Kazmi’s case is handled fairly and independently, so that the persecution of journalists like Syed Kazmi ends.

2. Background

Syed Mohammad Ahmad Kazmi – a well established journalist based in Delhi – was taken from the Indian Islamic Centre into police custody on 6 March. His son Shauzab was intimidated into signing his father’s arrest memo on 7 March, and Syed Kazmi has been under arrest since then.

He is facing the allegation that he helped to coordinate a 13 February bombing which targeted the wife of the Israeli defence attaché. Among the allegations put against him are that he and his family received Iranian guests at their home, and that a black scooter belonging to a relative might have been used in the attack. These accusations have been vehemently denied by Mohammad and his family.

Supporters object to the manner in which Syed Kazmi – who has worked for Iranian news agencies – is being targeted for his opposition to Zionism and views on India-Iran relations. The very fact that he has travelled frequently to Iran has been used as an excuse to place him under suspicion.

There are mounting concerns that Mohammad’s detention is politically motivated, and that he is not being treating in accordance with due process. Mohammad has been forced to sign blank pieces of paper by plain-clothed interrogators, which he now fears will be used to fabricate a confession.

His indefinite detention is a violation of due process, and highlights the ease with which journalists can be vilified and persecuted at the behest of Israel. Syed Kazmi has urged for the public to scrutinise the handling of the case, and the accusations being put against him, so that the shroud of secrecy regarding the case is dispensed with. Campaigners must demand that transparency and adherence to due process are observed so that Syed Kazmi can be freed.

3. Action Required

IHRC requests its campaigners and supporters to write letters and emails to the General Secretary of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), Michelle Stanistreet; and the Chair-Rapporteur for the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, Malick Sow. Request that they intervene to ensure that Kazmi’s case is handled fairly and independently, and that he is no longer persecuted due to his career in journalism.

4. Sample letters
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Sample letters are given below for your convenience. Please note that model letters can be sent directly or adjusted as necessary to include further details. If you receive a reply to the letter you send, we request you to send a copy of the letter you sent and the reply you received to IHRC. This is very important as it helps IHRC to monitor the situation with regards to our campaigns and to improve upon the current model letters.

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a) Michelle Stanistreet, General Secretary of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ).
Michelle Stanistreet,
NUJ Head Office,
Headland House,
308-312 Gray's Inn Road,
London,
WC1X 8DP,
UK.

Email: generalsecretary@nuj.org.uk

[Your name]
[Your address]

[Date]

Dear Ms Michelle Stanistreet,

Re: Indian journalist Syed Mohammad Ahmad Kazmi held without trial in Delhi.

I am writing to voice my concern over the fate of Syed Mohammad Ahmad Kazmi, a journalist based in Delhi who has been detained without charge since March.

Mohammad Kazmi has worked as a freelance journalist for almost thirty years, and is accredited by the Press Information Bureau (PIB). Based in Delhi, he has covered conflicts such as the Iran-Iraq war and the invasion of Iraq by US-led coalition forces for media outlets such as IRNA, IRIB, Doordarshan and BBC.

Mohammad is now facing allegations that he masterminding the bomb attack on 13 February, which targeted the wife of the Israeli defence attaché in Delhi. Yet he has been detained and interrogated for over a month without being charged with any crime. It is clear that Mohammad Kazmi – whose journalistic and professional records are impeccable – is being targeted due to his affiliation with an Iranian news agency; his political views on Zionism; and the frequent travel to Iran that his job entails.

He claims that he has been threatened by plain-clothed interrogators to be handed over to Israeli intelligence so that they may extract a forced confession. It is clear that Mohammad Kazmi’s case is not being handled justly and in accordance with Indian law.

Mohammad Kazmi should not remain jailed for his political views, profession or religious affiliation. I request that the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), in compliance with its commitment to help journalists in trouble abroad, publicise the case of Mohammad Kazmi. Unless a charge can be brought to Mohammad Kazmi, he must be released immediately from police custody. Please do your part so that Mohammad Kazmi receives due process.

I look forward to you reply.

Yours sincerely,

[Your signature]
[Your name]

b) Malick Sow, Chair-Rapporteur for the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.
Malick Sow,
Chair-Rapporteur for the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention,
Working Group on Arbitrary Detention,
C/o Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights,
United Nations Office at Geneva,
8-14, avenue de la Paix,
1211 Geneva 10,
SWITZERLAND.

Email: wgad@ohchr.org

[Your name]
[Your address]

[Date]

Dear Mr Malick Sow,

Re: Due process not applied in case of Indian journalist Syed Mohammad Ahmad Kazmi.

I am writing to convey my alarm over the handling of investigations concerning the 13 February bomb attack in Delhi by Indian police authorities. It is clear that the arrest of Syed Mohammad Ahmad Kazmi – a well-respected journalist – is politicised, and that he is not receiving fair treatment by the Indian authorities.

Mohammad Kazmi has worked as a freelance journalist for almost thirty years, and is accredited by the Press Information Bureau (PIB). Based in Delhi, he has covered conflicts such as the Iran-Iraq war and the invasion of Iraq by US-led coalition forces for media outlets such as IRNA, IRIB, Doordarshan and BBC.

Mohammad is now facing allegations that he masterminding the bomb attack on 13 February, which targeted the wife of the Israeli defence attaché in Delhi. After a month of being detained and interrogated, he is yet to be charged with any crime by the Delhi police authorities.
He claims that he has been threatened by plain-clothed interrogators to be handed over to Israeli intelligence so that they may extract a forced confession. He has already been forced to sign blank pieces of paper, which he fears will be used in order to fabricate a confession. There is very little confidence that Mohammad Kazmi’s case is being handled justly and in accordance with Indian law.

I and many others believe that Mohammad Kazmi – whose journalistic and professional records are impeccable – is being targeted due to his affiliation with an Iranian news agency, and the frequent travel to Iran that his job entails.

I request that as Chair-Rapporteur for the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, you press the Indian government to give Mohammad Kazmi fair treatment. India must not deprive one of its citizens of due process – something protected by the Indian constitution, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Nor should it subordinate its judicial system to the political whims of any other nation.

Unless a charge can be brought to Mohammad Kazmi, he must be released immediately from police custody. I trust that you will make sure that this happens.

I look forward to you reply.

Yours sincerely,

[Your signature]
[Your name]

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