Indian journalist walks free after two years in jail
NEW DELHI, Feb 2, 2023 (BSS/AFP) – An Indian journalist held in custody for
more than two years without trial walked free on Thursday after being granted
bail in a money laundering case.
Siddique Kappan was arrested in October 2020 in the northern state of Uttar
Pradesh, where he had travelled to report on a high-profile gang rape case.
He and three others were accused of belonging to an Islamist fundamentalist
group and eventually charged with conspiracy to incite violence.
Kappan has maintained his innocence and says that he had only travelled from
his home state of Kerala to do his duties as a journalist.
He was bailed in the case in September last year but remained behind bars for
months longer because of a separate money laundering case against him.
“I will continue my fight against draconian laws. They kept me in jail even
after I got bail,” he told NDTV news network after his release from jail in
the city of Lucknow.
“These two years were very tough, but I was never afraid.”
India has slipped 10 places in the Reporters Without Borders press freedom
ranking to 150 out of 180 surveyed countries since the Hindu nationalist
government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi took office in 2014.
Critical reporters often find themselves behind bars and hounded on social
media by supporters of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Nine other journalists are currently in Indian prisons, according to
Reporters Without Borders.