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Pakistan asks EU to intervene in Kashmiri activist Asiya Andrabi’s release from Indian jail

Kashmiri leader and human rights activist Asiya Andrabi. Photo:

Pakistan has asked the European Union to intervene in the release of Kashmiri human rights activist and political leader Asiya Andrabi from India’s Tihar Jail.

According to Geo News, in a letter addressed to the chairs of the political groups in the European Parliament as well as the EU Special Representative for Human Rights, Pakistan’s envoy to the European Union, Belgium and Luxembourg, Ambassador Zaheer A Janjua urged the EU to play its role in stopping the imminent risk of Andrabi’s conviction by a sham court on January 18, 2020.

Andrabi has been under illegal and inhumane captivity for more than 15 years on fabricated charges under draconian laws, such as the Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA) and the Public Safety Act (PSA).

She was first arrested in 1992, along with her husband and her six-month-old son under the PSA. Between 1992 and 2016, she has been jailed multiple times by Indian occupation forces.

India has now placed Andrabi and her associates Naheeda Nasreen and Fehmeeda Sofi on a sham trial under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) on trumped-up charges, deliberately accelerating the trial and setting aside due judicial process, reflecting clear malicious intent and indications of looming judicial murder.

The UAPA has been specifically declared to be incompatible with international human rights standards by various UN Special Procedures.

As a defender of human rights and an ardent advocate of women’s empowerment, Abdrabi has worked tirelessly for social reforms and the realisation of fundamental freedoms for the people of the Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir (IOJK) for over four decades.

She founded an organisation called Dukhtaran-e-Millat (DeM), which is one of the biggest women’s rights organisations in IOJK, working on women’s education, empowerment, well-being and protection — especially against sexual violence and abuse at the hands of the Indian occupation forces.

In his letter, Ambassador Janjua underscored that Andrabi has been subjected to physical and psychological torture in jail, including solitary confinement. He wrote that despite her deteriorating health conditions and the reported outbreak of the COVID-19 in the jail, she is still incarcerated under sub-human conditions where she awaits the imminent conviction.

The Ambassador emphasised that Pakistan — together with the United Nations, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), and some international human rights organisations, including Amnesty International — has highlighted multiple, grave, and systemic human rights violations of the hapless Kashmiri people by India.

He called upon the EU to raise its voice to convince India to stop the illegal and sham trial, drop all fabricated cases against Andrabi, her husband and associates, and pave the way for their honourable and immediate release.

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