Fact-Checker Zubair moves Indian top court against death threats from extremists

New Delhi, July 07 (KMS): Fact-checker Mohammed Zubair on Thursday told the Indian Supreme Court that he is getting death threats, and sought a halt on the case against him in Sitapur, Uttar Pradesh.

Zubair is in Delhi’s Tihar Jail and has at least two cases against him for allegedly hurting religious sentiments — one in Delhi over a four-year-old tweet in which he shared a screenshot from a film; the other in Sitapur, over calling three Hindu right-wing leaders “hatemongers”.

His plea in the Supreme Court is against the Sitapur case. He has challenged the Allahabad High Court’s order by which the court had refused to quash the FIR on June 10.

Zubair’s lawyer, Colin Gonsalves, argued for urgent listing at 2pm: “There are death threats against him… People have said that they will kill him. We are worried about his safety. Please see the urgency.” Justice Indira Banerjee ordered it to be listed tomorrow, “subject to clearance by the Chief Justice of India”.

Mohammed Zubair, a resident of Bengaluru and co-founder of fact-checking outlet Alt News, was first arrested on June 27 by the Delhi police over a four-year-old tweet. His arrest came days after he had flagged a video of now-suspended BJP leader Nupur Sharma’s provocative remarks on Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) on a TV show.

The legal position now is that Mr Zubair remains in Tihar Jail as a Delhi court sent him to judicial custody for 14 days on July 2, after he’d been in police custody for five days. That’s for the case registered over his tweet of March 2018, in which he’d shared a screenshot from a 1983 film.

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