National Press Club Condemns Rearrest of Kashmiri Journalist and Demands His Release

WASHINGTON, March 1, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Following is a statement from Emily Wilkins, president of the National Press Club, and Gil Klein, president of the National Press Club Journalism Institute, on the rearrest of Kashmiri journalist Aasif Sultan. Sultan, who received a 2019 John Aubuchon Press Freedom Award from the National Press Club in recognition of his unjust detention, was released from prison Tuesday only to be re-arrested on Thursday, according to local reports

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“We are deeply concerned by the rearrest this week of Kashmiri journalist Aasif Sultan. Every day of the five-and-a-half years Sultan spent in prison simply for doing his job as a journalist was a day too long. He was unjustly accused of aiding insurgents, even though he was merely reporting on them.” 

“Sultan’s release from incarceration on Tuesday should have been a joyous occasion that brought lasting relief and comfort to his family. Instead, Indian authorities reportedly rearrested Sultan on Thursday on old charges just hours after he returned home.” 

“The National Press Club awarded Sultan a 2019 John Aubuchon Press Freedom Award in recognition of the egregious injustice of his case and the worsening conditions for the press in the India-controlled portion of Kashmir under the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The re-arrest of Sultan is a fresh reminder of the repression that journalists continue to face in India, the world’s largest democracy.”  

“Journalism is not a crime. Any government that arbitrarily arrests and detains journalists for doing their jobs is violating the basic human rights of journalists to report information, and citizens to access information. We demand an immediate end to Aasif Sultan’s senseless imprisonment.” 

Founded in 1908, the National Press Club is the world’s leading professional organization for journalists. The Club has 3,000 members representing nearly every major news organization and is a leading voice for press freedom in the U.S. and worldwide. 

The National Press Club Journalism Institute promotes an engaged, global citizenry through an independent and free press and equips journalists with the skills and standards to inform the public in ways that inspire a more representative democracy. The NPCJI is the nonprofit affiliate of the National Press Club. 

Contact: Bill McCarren, press freedom consultant for the National Press Club, [email protected], (202) 662-7534 

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SOURCE National Press Club