Tuesday Nov 23 2021

Khurram Parvez is a human rights defender, not a terrorist, UN tells India

Kashmiri human rights actvitist Khurram Parvez. File photo
Kashmiri human rights actvitist Khurram Parvez. File photo

SRINAGAR: The United Nations have strongly criticised the arrest of a prominent activist in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IoK) on terror charges, saying he is “not a terrorist”.

Khurram Parvez was arrested late on Monday by India's federal National Investigation Agency (NIA), an Indian official briefed on the situation told Reuters.

His residence and office were searched and a mobile phone, laptop and books seized, he added.

A spokesperson for the NIA confirmed Parvez's arrest on Tuesday.

Mary Lawlor, the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, called Parvez's arrest "disturbing".

"He's not a terrorist, he's a human rights defender," she said in a tweet.

According to Indian officials, Khurram Parvez is being held under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, that allows for the detention of up to six months without trial.

His lawyer, Parvez Imroz, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Parvez, one of Kashmir's best known activists, is head of Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society, a group of rights organisations working in the region.

He was arrested and detained on similar charges in 2016, after being prevented from boarding a flight to attend a UN human rights forum in Geneva.

He was eventually released without being convicted of any crime.