Rights groups criticize the arrest of a prominent activist in IIOJK on terror funding charges

Nov 23, 2021: Rights groups, including the United Nations (UN) , have criticized the arrest of a leading activist in India’s illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) on charges of financing terrorism.

Khurram Pervez was arrested late Monday by the Federal Investigation Agency (NIA), an Indian official told Reuters. He added that his residence and office were searched and a mobile phone, laptop and books were confiscated. An NIA spokesman confirmed Pervez’s arrest on Tuesday.

He is being held under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, which allows for six months of detention without trial. His lawyer, Pervez Imroz, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Marie Lawlor, the UN special envoy for human rights, called Pervez’s arrest “disturbing.” “He is not a terrorist, he is a defender of human rights,” she said in a tweet.

Pervez, one of the leading activists of IIOJK, heads the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society, a group of rights organizations working in the region. He was arrested in 2016 on similar charges after being barred from boarding a flight to attend a UN human rights forum in Geneva. He was eventually acquitted without charge. The Muslim-majority region of Kashmir has been a source of tension between nuclear-armed neighbors India and Pakistan for decades.

The two countries claim full territory in the Himalayas but rule over it in part and have fought two wars against each other there. India has long faced allegations of human rights abuses in its territory, a charge New Delhi denies. It strictly controls the access of foreign observers to Kashmir, including the United Nations.

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