Indian Journalist Arrested on Terrorism Charges Released on Bail

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins

partners in India in welcoming the release on bail of Syed Mohammad Ahmad

Kazmi, an Indian journalist held in custody for seven months on charges of terrorism.


Following orders passed by the Supreme Court of India

on October 19, Kazmi was released after posting a bail bond of two hundred

thousand Indian rupees (roughly four thousand U.S. dollars) the following day.


Kazmi was

arrested on March 6 on charges of aiding and abetting a February 15 bomb

attack on an Israeli diplomatic vehicle in India’s capital city. At that time, he

was working for an Iranian news agency in Delhi and also for India’s

state-owned TV channel, Doordarshan, as a news presenter in Urdu language

bulletins. His bail application which first came up before the Chief

Metropolitan Magistrate of Delhi in April, was

turned down on the grounds that investigations were still

underway. On June 2, despite charges still not being laid, the Magistrate

extended Kazmi’s remand beyond the ninety days permitted under Indian law.


The Delhi Union of Journalists (DUJ), a constituent

unit of the IFJ-affiliated Indian Journalists’ Union, had demanded that the

Special Cell of the Delhi Police which had arrested Kazmi, follow a policy of

full transparency in pursuing the case. Information since made available points

to a possibility that Kazmi’s arrest was made on unclear and insufficient



The DUJ has welcomed Kazmi’s release on bail. In a

statement released on October 23, DUJ President Sujata Madhok and General

Secretary, S.K. Pande, called for a rigorous introspection from the media on the

coverage of Kazmi’s arrest, and its implications for press freedom and human

rights reporting.


A substantial part of the case against Kazmi was built

on his telephone records, which revealed a number of calls to Iran’s capital, Tehran,

around the time that the bomb attack against the Israeli diplomatic vehicle

occurred. The DUJ has argued that this was in all probability, only about Kazmi

attending to his professional responsibilities as a reporter for a news agency

based in the Iranian capital city.


“Journalists have to maintain all sorts of contacts

and speak to a variety of sources for their news stories”, said the DUJ. “Such

connections for professional purposes should not be misconstrued as active

collusion or connivance in dubious activities, including crime”.


The IFJ once again underlines the need for full

transparency on the part of the prosecution and calls for strict adherence to

the principle of  thepresumption of innocence, when hearings in the

case resume in the Delhi Sessions Court.


For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0918



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