Jammu & Kashmir

Journalist Asif Sultan rearrested day after being released from 5-yr detention

Asif Sultan. [File Photo]

Srinagar: Kashmiri journalist Asif Sultan, who had just been released from Uttar Pradesh’s Ambedkar Jail after over five years, was rearrested by the Jammu and Kashmir police on Thursday, The Wire reported quoting family and sources.

Asif was arrested hours after he was brought by family to his home in Batamaloo, Srinagar from Uttar Pradesh. He was jailed under the Public Safety Act (PSA) since 2022.

Asif’s detention was quashed by JK high court in December last year which termed the allegations against him as “unsustainable” and urged the authorities to end his “illegal” detention.

However, as reported by The Wire, the journalist’s  reunion with his family, which includes six-year-old daughter who was an infant when her father was arrested, his ailing parents and wife, was prolonged by over two months due to “procedural delays” under which some detainees, who are set free by the courts, have to reportedly get clearances from the administration before securing their freedom.

The report quoting sources said that after returning to Srinagar, Asif was initially summoned to Srinagar’s Rainawari police station on Thursday evening (February 29) and later arrested in connection with an Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) case filed by Nowhatta police station.

A police official has told The Wire that the journalist was arrested in an old case.

He was first arrested on August 27, 2018, on charges of providing logistical support to the banned militant group Hizbul Mujahideen. Initially detained under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), additional charges under the PSA were later brought against him.

In April 2022, the High Court granted Sultan bail in the UAPA case, citing a lack of evidence linking him to any militant group.

However, just four days after this order, he was detained under the PSA, prolonging his imprisonment.

Asif’s family consistently maintained his innocence, asserting that he was targeted for his journalistic work. His name surfaced in an FIR related to a gunfight with militants in Srinagar’s Batamaloo, Sultan’s neighbourhood, on August 12, 2018, ETV bharat reported.

Even during his time behind bars, Asif Sultan’s unwavering commitment to journalistic integrity garnered international acclaim.

In 2019, he was honoured with the prestigious annual John Aubuchon Press Freedom Award by the National Press Club of America.

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