Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), on Tuesday, released a statement in solidarity with journalist Siddique Kappan calling upon Uttar Pradesh authorities to not oppose his bail and to grant him access to his lawyers immediately. "CPJ is deeply concerned about the ongoing imprisonment of journalist Siddique Kappan and the denial of access to legal representation, which is a clear violation of his fundamental rights under the Indian constitution as well as international law. Kappan should never have been jailed in the first place and should be freed at once," said Aliya Iftikhar, CPJ's senior Asia researcher.
Siddique Kappan was arrested on 5th October on his way to report on the alleged rape and murder of a Dalit woman by upper caste men in Hathras village of Uttar Pradesh. He has been charged with Sections 153-A, 295-A, 124-A of IPC, 17, and 14 of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 65, 72 and 76 of Information Technology Act and lodged in Mathura jail.
Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) of which Kappan is secretary, filed a habeas corpus with the Supreme Court following the arrest. Though the Supreme Court had on the hearing on 12th October directed senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing KUWJ, to approach the Allahabad High Court for relief, they were denied the opportunity to meet him. "I [his lawyers] cannot meet him, how can I approach the high court, I can't even amend the writ petition in Supreme Court," clarified Sibal in Court on Monday. The apex court has scheduled Kappan's interim bail plea for this Friday.