The judicial custody of prominent human rights activist Khurram Parvez, who was arrested last month, has been extended till 19 February 2022 while the family has been barred to meet him owing to the Covid-19 rise.
According to Parvez’s family, he appeared before the court on Friday last week after which the court extended his judicial custody till 19 February 2022. Parvez is currently lodged in New Delhi’s Tihar jail.
Parvez was booked under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and other multiple charges after National Investigation Agency (NIA) on 22 November 2021 raided his residence and office in Srinagar. He initially spent 12 days under NIA custody before being taken into judicial detention.
Speaking to The Kashmir Walla, Parvez’s wife Sameena Mir said that the family was planning to visit him [Parvez], but the jail authorities have stopped the visitation following the rise in Covid-19 cases.
“As of now no visitor is allowed to visit jail. So, there was no point traveling to New Delhi,” she said.
On 19 January, a London based law firm while filing an application with British police seeking probe against Indian army chief and Home Minister over their alleged roles in war crimes in Kashmir also included details about the arrest of Parvez by NIA.
Meanwhile, Mir said that the family would continue to press for her husband’s unconditional release.
“We will continue to pursue the case in the court,” she said.
The charges against Parvez include Indian Penal Code (IPC) 120B which is a punishment for criminal conspiracy. 121 waging, or attempting to wage war, or abetting waging of war, against the Government of India (GoI), 121A conspiracy to commit offenses punishable by section 121.
Similarly, section 17 of UAPA against Parvez is a punishment for raising funds for terrorist act. Section 18 is a punishment for conspiracy, while 18B is punishment for recruiting any person or persons for terrorist acts.
Section 38 of UAPA is an offence relating to membership of a terrorist organization, while section 40 is an offence of raising funds for a terrorist organization.
Meanwhile, national and international rights bodies, activists and politicians have demanded the immediate release of Parvez.
In December last year, more than 28 British Parliamentarians wrote a joint letter to the Indian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom (UK) expressing their concerns over Parvez’s incarceration and sought an explanation for his detention.
Earlier, the United Nations also expressed concern over the arrest of Parvez and called for his release.
“We are deeply concerned at the arrest of Kashmiri human rights defender Khurram Parvez under Indian counter-terrorism legislation, the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA),” the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said in a statement.
In 2016, Parvez was slapped with the Public Safety Act (PSA). His arrest had come a day after he was barred from traveling to Switzerland to participate in a session of the UN Human Rights Council. He was released after 76 days of prison.
Parvez is the chairperson of the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) and the programme coordinator of JKCCS. He had lost his leg in a landmine while monitoring the 2004 Parliamentary elections.
A twitter campaign #FreeKhurramParvez has also been started by various human rights organizations calling on the Government of India to release the activist on an immediate basis as the activist had completed a month under detention.