New York, February 16, 2018--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Indian authorities and the National Investigative Agency (NIA) to immediately drop charges against photojournalist Kamran Yousuf and release him.
Documents submitted by the NIA in court on Thursday argued that Yousuf was not a "real journalist/stringer by profession" because he had not received formal training or covered "developmental activity" in the region, according to news reports. Yousuf's work shows his intentions "to only cover the activities which are anti-national and earn money against such footages," the documents allege.
"India's National Investigative Agency is way out of its league and has no business defining what 'a real journalist' should cover," said Steven Butler, CPJ's Asia program coordinator. "Kamran Yousuf's work taking photographs of conflict in Jammu and Kashmir is a public service in the best spirit of journalism. He should be freed immediately."
Yousuf is a freelance photojournalist from Jammu and Kashmir state, who has been imprisoned since September 5, 2017. He was formally charged on January 18 with sedition, criminal conspiracy, and attempting to wage war against India. His next hearing is expected on February 19, according to The Indian Express.