(Khurram Parvez; Image- scroll.in)
(SLB/23rd September 2016)
Number of Sri Lankan Civil Society groups and individuals has called on the Indian Government to release Mr. Khurram Parvez, Chairperson of the Asian Federation against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) and Program Coordinator of the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS). Mr. Parvez was barred by immigration authorities in Delhi airport from boarding his flight to Geneva to attend the UN Human Rights Council’s 33rd Session on 14th September and arrested on 16 Sep 2016 without any arrest warrant.
The statement further says that the arrest “appears to be a reprisal for his long years of human rights activism. The timing of the denial to travel and arrest appears to indicate the Indian authorities aimed to stop him from participating in the 33rd session of the UN Human Rights Council. ”
Full statement is given below:
Call to Indian government to release detained human rights defender Khurram Parvez
We, the under mentioned Sri Lankan citizens and organizations express our serious concern over the arrest and detention of the Mr. Khurram Parvez, Chairperson of the Asian Federation against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) and Program Coordinator of the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS).
Mr. Parvez was barred by immigration authorities in Delhi airport from boarding his flight to Geneva to attend the UN Human Rights Council’s 33rd Session on 14th September. No official written reason has been given. Mr. Parvez was verbally informed that the Intelligence Bureau of India had ordered that he was not allowed to travel outside the country. Mr. Parvez was to lead the AFAD delegation and to attend various meetings with UN officials and representatives of Permanent Missions of UN Member States in Geneva.
Two days later, around 12.30am on 16 September Mr. Parvez had been arrested from his home in Srinagar and brought to the Kothibagh Police station. No justification was given for the arrest, and no arrest warrant was shown. Mr. Parvez was later hen taken to the Kupwara sub-jail, which made it difficult for him to communicate with his lawyers and isolated him from his family, both based in Srinagar. Even after a sub-jail authorities were served with the Sessions Court order quashing his detention, he was taken back to the Kothi Bagh Police station and later, Police have stated that Mr. Parvez is being taken to Jammu to be detained at the Kot Bhalwal jail. Seven days after being first detained in Srinagar, Mr. Parvez will now be lodged close to 300 kilometers away from his family and legal counsel, making access to both very difficult.
His legal team has been informed by the Police that that was being detained under the Public Safety Act, but they have not been provided any orders, warrants or grounds for detention. His lawyers had moved the acting Chief Judicial Magistrate, Srinagar, questioning his continued detention despite the Sessions Court order. The Police have been ordered to submit a report the next day.
We note that article 9(1) of the ICCPR, to which India is a state party, provides that “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention. No one shall be deprived of his liberty except on such grounds and in accordance with such procedure as are established by law. Article 9(2) states that anyone who is arrested shall be informed, at the time of arrest, of the reasons for his arrest. Article 14(3)(b) of the ICCPR is very clear in stating that everyone shall be entitled to communicate with a counsel of his own choosing.
The above provisions aim at ensuring that every deprivation of liberty will be in accordance with the law, in order to make sure the rights and safety of a person arrested are protected at all times, and that he / she will be entitled to due process not subjected to enforced disappearance, cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment etc. The actions taken by the Indian authorities against Khurram Parvez are in blatant violation of the above articles of the ICCPR and endangers the safety and rights of Mr. Parvez.
This appears to be a reprisal for his long years of human rights activism. The timing of the denial to travel and arrest appears to indicate the Indian authorities aimed to stop him from participating in the 33rd session of the UN Human Rights Council.
We demand the immediate release of Mr. Parvez. And in the meantime, to ensure his physical and mental well-being and to grant him free access to his lawyers and to allow him to freely communicate with his family.
1. Education Renaissance Programme
2. Free Media Movement
3. Human Rights Office, Kandy
4. INFORM Human Rights Documentation Centre
5. International Centre for Ethnic Studies
6. Women Development Innovators
7. Ananda Jayasekara
8. Angelica Chandrasekeran
9. Anushaya Collure
10. Balasingham Skanthakumar, Social Scientists Association
11. C. Dodawatte, Free Media Movement
12. Chameera Perera, Left Center
13. Damith Chandimal
14. Deekshya Illangasinghe
15. Dharshanie Alles
16. Fr. Nandana Manatunga
17. Godfrey Yogarajah, Executive Director, World Evangelical Alliance – Religious Liberty Commission
18. Hans Billimoria, The Grassrooted Trust, Sri Lanka
19. K. Aingkaran, Attorney-at-Law
20. K.J. Brito Fernando – President Families of the Disappeared
21. Marisa De Silva
22. Nalini Ratnarajah
23. Philip Dissanayake – Secretary – Right to Life Human Rights Center
24. Dr. Philip Settunga
25. Ruki Fernando
26. Samal Hemachandra
27. Sudantha Madawa Fernando, Aluth Parapura
28. Srinath Chathuranga, Aluth Parapura
29. Thiyagaraja Waradas
30. Udaya Kalupathirana
31. Upul Wicramasinghe