‘Journalists Should Not Be Jailed’: UN On Mohammed Zubair’s Arrest

New Delhi: Journalists should not be jailed for what they write, tweet and say, a spokesperson for UN chief Antonio Guterres said on Tuesday in response to the arrest of Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair in India. It is important that people be allowed to express themselves freely without the threat of any harassment, he asserted.

Mohammed Zubair was arrested by the Delhi Police on Monday for allegedly hurting religious sentiments through one of his tweets posted in 2018. He was produced before a magistrate, who sent him to police custody for a day.

Responding to Zubair’s arrest, Spokesman for the Secretary-General Stephane Dujarric said: “In any place around the world, it is very important that people be allowed to express themselves freely, journalists be allowed to express themselves freely and without the threat of any harassment.”

Dujarric was responding to a question at the daily news briefing at the United States on Zubair’s arrest.

“Journalists should not be jailed for what they write, what they tweet and what they say. And that goes for anywhere in the world, including in this room,” Dujarric said in response to another question by a Pakistani journalist on whether he is also calling on Zubair’s release from custody.

Zubair’s arrest came days after the Gujarat authorities arrested Teesta Setalvad on the charges of “criminal conspiracy, forgery and placing false evidence in court to frame innocent people” in the 2002 Gujarat riots.

The UN Human Rights agency has also voiced concern over the arrest and detention of social activist Setalvad and called for her immediate release. Setalvad was detained from her house in Juhu area of Mumbai on Saturday afternoon after an FIR was registered against her at the Ahmedabad crime branch based on a complaint lodged by crime branch inspector D B Barad. She was brought to Ahmedabad via road by the Gujarat police squad.

The Ahmedabad crime branch on Sunday arrested Setalvad, a day after she was detained in Mumbai and shifted to Gujarat.

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