Defend journalism – Support branch member Amitt Bhatt

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May 15, 2017 by NUJMcrSalford

Demonstration in support of NUJ member Amitt Bhatt

9am Thursday 18th May 2017amitt8

Asylum & Immigration Tribunal, 1st Floor, Piccadilly Exchange, Piccadilly Plaza, Mosley Street, Manchester, M1 4AH

There will be a presence of friends/supporters and NUJ colleagues, outside the Tribunal offices from 09:00 and inside the court from 10:00.

Investigative journalist Amitt Bhatt is facing deportation to India and the likelihood of arrest and torture – possibly even death – for his work exposing corruption and human rights abuses in war-torn Kashmir.

Why Amitt is in danger:

Amitt’s activities would make him particularly vulnerable given the current situation in India. There have been numerous incidents against journalists including threats and intimidation, harassment, kidnapping, murder, torture, extra-judicial killings, false criminal and sedition cases, and unlawful censorship.

He worked for the newspaper Public Mail, which exposed corruption and human rights. His high-profile investigations covered the Commonwealth Games timing, scoring and results scam which saw the Chairman of the 2010 games Organising Committee, Suresh Kalmadi, and other senior officials jailed. He had taken a job in the technology department of the Commonwealth Games and was reporting from the HQ in New Delhi until his cover was blown.

He reported cases of malpractice and corruption in government ministries and he exposed the exploitation and trafficking of women and malpractices in India’s political system.

In February 2011, he was detained by the authorities in a kidnapping independently confirmed by the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), which supports his case. He was tortured for more than a month, including by sustained flagellation, electric shocks to the head, sleep deprivation, foot whipping and being forced to drink petrol. He was interrogated on the location of documents, his associations and other information which he had gathered in support of his journalistic activities.

After a month, he managed to escape through a toilet window, made contact with friends and supporters who provided medical attention and kept him secure, moving him from one safe house to another. But his physical and mental health were severely affected and he still suffers from ulcerative colitis, epilepsy seizures, deafness and tinnitus, migraine and depression. He says: “I almost had turned into a zombie, a walking talking dead man.”

Finally, he was able to establish contact with a friend and, with the help of supporters.  a visa and flight to Britain were arranged,

What you can do:

Please sign the petition.

 

 

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