UN Official Condemns Detention of Activist Teesta Setalvad, Seeks Immediate Release

 

Calling for her release and an end to persecution by India, the UN official said "Teesta is a strong voice against hatred and discrimination. Defending human rights is not a crime."

New Delhi: A United Nations official on Saturday expressed deep concern about the detention of activist Teesta Setalvad by the Gujarat Police.  Mary Lawlor, the United Nations special rapporteur took to Twitter on Sunday to condemn the detention of activist-journalist Teesta Setalvad (now arrested) by the Crime Branch, Ahmedabad. In her tweet, the UN official wrote: “Teesta is a strong voice against hatred and discrimination. Defending human rights is not a crime. I call for her release and an end to persecution by Indian state.”


Setalvad was detained by the Crime Branch in Mumbai on Saturday and taken to Ahmedabad later that night. Earlier, former IPS officer RB Sreekumar was also arrested.  The arrests come days after the Supreme Court had dismissed a petition challenging the clean chit given by the SIT to then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and others in the 2002 post-Godhra riots cases.

The action follows the Gujarat Police's first information report (FIR) which names Setalvad, Former Director General of Police of Gujarat RB Sreekumar, and suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt for alleged fabrication of evidence in the 2002 Gujarat riots case.

Meanwhile, the Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC) strongly condemned the arrests of Setalvad and Sreekumar on social media and criticised the Gujarat Police for filing a case against Bhatt.

The suspended IPS officer is serving life imprisonment in connection with a 1990 custodial death case. “In several high-profile cases related to the Gujarat pogrom, the perpetrators have either been acquitted by the infamous and compromised Special Investigations Team or granted bail after being convicted,” the council tweeted on Saturday.

“Meanwhile, activists such as Teesta Setalvad, RB Sreekumar, and Sanjiv Bhatt, who demonstrated exemplary courage in pursuing justice for the victims, are being hounded by the police and subject to harassment by the state under false and fabricated charges,” it added

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