Imphal, April 6, 2019
Condemning the detention of Manipur journalist, Kishorechandra Wangkhem under the National Security Act(NSA), the American Bar Association Centre for Human Rights (ABACHR) has issued a statement ordering the Manipur High Court to immediately release the journalist.
Wangkhem was arrested on November 27th, 2019 under the National Security Act for posting a video criticizing the BJP-led state government for comparing the freedom movement of Manipur with Rani of Jhansi. Wangkhem ended up in the prison for questioning the contribution of the Rani of Jhansi to the state’s freedom movement and hurling abuses at the BJP and RSS.
As per the statements of ABACHR, Wangkhem is being held in violation of India’s obligation to preserve the rights to freedom of expression and freedom from arbitrary detention.
The Association urged the Manipur High Court to uphold India’s obligations under international law, order the immediate release of Wangkhem, and ensure that he receives adequate medical treatment. It assured that it will issue a complete report following the judgement.
It may be mentioned that Wangkhem has been undergoing treatment owing to illness at the Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences following his detention since November 27th, 2019.
The statement acknowledges that while the journalist’s “profanity-laced” statements may have been unpalatable, they did not pose any threat to national security and hence, do not justify his imprisonment.