Geneva, November 22 (KMS): On the first anniversary of prominent Kashmiri human rights defender Khurram Parvez’s detention, four human rights organisations including World Organisation Against Torture and the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances have submitted a complaint to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention for issuance of a ruling against Khurram’s detention, and demand for his release from Indian jail.
In the complaint, the rights’ bodies expressed the fear that Khurram Parvez faces a possible life sentence and the death penalty in a blatant act of reprisal for his legitimate and peaceful human rights activities.
“The detention of Khurram Parvez carries all the signs of an arbitrary detention in clear breach of binding legal standards the Indian State has committed to respect. For over a year, domestic courts have failed to uphold the rule of law and international law. This is why we are seizing the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention to issue a ruling on the arbitrariness of Khurram’s detention, and to demand the Indian authorities to release him,” said World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) Secretary General, Gerald Staberock.
Khurram Parvez has worked tirelessly to document human rights violations in Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir for the past 20 years. He is the Coordinator of the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) and the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP), and the Chairperson of the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD). He is also a distinguished scholar with the political conflict, gender and people’s rights initiative at the Center for Race and Gender at University of California, Berkeley.
“In addition to being arbitrarily detained for a year, Khurram Parvez faces a possible life sentence and the death penalty in a blatant act of reprisal for his legitimate and peaceful human rights activities. Khurram ought not to have spent a single minute behind bars and should be compensated for his prolonged and unjust deprivation of liberty,” said FIDH President, Alice Mogwe.
Khurram Parvez was arbitrarily arrested on November 22, 2021 by India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) officers following 14-hour raids on his house in Srinagar. He has since been prosecuted under multiple trumped-up charges related to criminal conspiracy and terrorism, and his fundamental rights to due process and a fair trial have constantly been violated.
The rights groups reiterate their call for the immediate and unconditional release of Khurram Parvez and for all charges against him to be dropped.
Besides FIDH and OMCT, Forum-Asia and CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation are also among the signatories of the petition.