India: 'Politically-motivated' sedition case against Amnesty closed by court

A court order directing the closing of a sedition case filed against Amnesty India brings to an end a disgraceful attempt to stifle freedom of expression, the organisation said today.

On Tuesday, a trial court in the city of Bengaluru ordered that the case filed against Amnesty India on 15 August 2016, on the basis of a complaint filed by a representative of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, should be closed.

The complaint related to an event that Amnesty India had held as part of a campaign to seek justice for human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir. The initial documents in the case mentioned a number of supposed offences, including ‘sedition’, ‘unlawful assembly’, ‘rioting’ and ‘promoting enmity’.

The court said it accepted a closure report filed by Bengaluru city police in July 2017, which stated it had not found any evidence that the offences had been committed.

Aakar Patel, Head of Amnesty India, said:

“This was a case that should never have been registered. It has been a waste of public money and resources, and a distraction from real issues.

“The ruling vindicates everything that Amnesty India has said from the time this politically-motivated complaint was filed.

“We were branded ‘anti-national’ and criminalised simply for seeking justice for human rights violations.

“Our mission is to fight to defend the constitutional values of justice, equality and liberty for everyone in India, and we will not be cowed by those seeking to silence us.

“We will also continue to seek the repeal of India’s archaic sedition law, which is still used to harass and persecute human rights defenders.”

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