Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Jammu and Kashmir: Hundreds held each year without charge or trial

Amnesty International, March 21, 2011

The Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir is holding hundreds of people each year without charge or trial in order to ‘keep them out of circulation’, a new Amnesty International report released today shows.

A ‘Lawless Law’: Detentions under the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act, documents how the Public Safety Act (PSA) is used to secure the long-term detention of individuals against whom there is insufficient evidence for a trial.

Estimates of the number detained under the PSA over the past two decades range from 8,000-20,000, with 322 reportedly held from January to September 2010 alone.

“The Jammu and Kashmir authorities are using PSA detentions as a revolving door to keep people they can’t or won’t convict through proper legal channels locked up and out of the way,” said Sam Zarifi, Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Director.

“Hundreds of people are being held each year on spurious grounds, with many exposed to higher risk of torture and other forms of ill-treatment.”

Detainees include political leaders and activists, suspected members or supporters of armed opposition groups, lawyers, journalists and protesters, including children. Often, they are initially picked up for ‘unofficial’ interrogation, during which time they have no access to a lawyer or their families.

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