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#FreeShabirShah campaign launched to save the life of Kashmiri prisoner of conscience
WASHINGTON — Justice For All, a nonprofit global human rights organization, launched the #FreeShabirShah campaign on November 8, 2021 to advocate for the release of Shabir Shah. The campaign encourages individuals and human rights groups to pressure the White House and their local Members of Congress to save Shah’s life.
Shah is a Kashmiri leader who has been imprisoned for 34 years without any trial or conviction. According to his family, he faces critical health conditions while incarcerated in India’s Tihar Jail. Shah was declared a Prisoner of Conscience by Amnesty International in 1992. He is one of the most popular political leaders in Indian-Administered-Kashmir. His long standing non-consecutive detention took place without a single conviction against him. He is considered the Nelson Mandela of Kashmir. However unlike Mandela he has never been convicted of a crime.
Tihar Jail’s medical staff advised Shah to undergo two surgeries and a possible biopsy. Justice For All was informed that his family demanded his release on bail for independent medical treatment and surgeries. If Shah does not receive immediate care, the consequences may be fatal due to his ailing health.
For his most recent arrest, Shah has already served four years of pretrial detention for a 14-year-old unfounded case. During this period, the prosecution failed to collect nor provide any evidence against him. Given Shah’s previous arbitrary arrests, and over 30 years of imprisonment, it’s evident that his arrest is once again for political reasons only.
“Considering Shabir Shah’s precarious health condition, and the fact that he has never been convicted of any crimes, we seek his unconditional release,” explained Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid, CEO and Founder of Justice For All.
“Under international fair trial standards Shah is entitled to a bail grant during his prolonged pretrial detention,” said Tazeen Hasan, Free Shabir Shah Campaign Manager.
Justice For All has contacted the State Department, the United Nations Office of Commissioner of Human Rights, and Amnesty International to address the issue of arbitrary detention of Kashmiri leadership.
Situated at the intersection of two nuclear powers, Kashmir is a disputed region between Pakistan, and India. The people of this Muslim majority region have been struggling for their right to self-determination since 1948 in Indian Occupied Kashmir. In 1948, their right was accepted by the United Nations Security Council. Seventy-four years have passed, but a referendum has not been held. According to the reports by human rights organizations, the Indian State is violating the population’s fundamental human rights. Enforced disappearances, arbitrary detentions, torture in police custody, detentions and use of violence on peaceful protestors, convictions after a trial in the Kangaroo courts, and baseless accusations have been recorded by human rights organizations and the media. India is the signatory of the human rights Charter, the Geneva Conventions, the Genocide Convention, and the United Nations Covenant of Civil and Political Rights. However, the State is not fulfilling its obligations towards Kashmir, an occupied territory according to international humanitarian law, i.e., Geneva Convention. Recently, Genocide Watch, a global organization that monitors early warning signs of genocide, has raised concerns that India is beginning to perpetrate genocide in Kashmir. According to human rights groups, India has detained thousands of Kashmiris, all justified by a special act called the Public Safety Act. These detentions violate the Indian Constitution and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which India has signed. The State is not fulfilling its obligations to ensure the right to freedom from arbitrary detention and the right to a fair trial.
A U.S based NGO with Consultative Status at the United Nations (Department of Global Communications), Justice for All advocates for the global strengthening of human rights, with a focuses on situations of genocide and mass atrocity, and promotes grassroots empowerment. www.justiceforall.org
Justice For All