New York, March 13, 2018--The Committee to Protect Journalists today welcomes the release on bail of Kashmiri photojournalist Kamran Yousuf and calls on Indian authorities to drop all remaining charges against him. Yousuf was granted bail by a National Investigative Agency (NIA) special court in Delhi on Monday and was released today after providing 100,000 Indian rupees (US$1,545) in guarantees, according to the bail order seen by CPJ and news reports. In the bail order, the court also said that Yousuf "was working as a photojournalist and was covering all kinds of incidents...in the Kashmir Valley" prior to his arrest, contradicting the NIA's claims that Yousuf was not a "real" photojournalist.
"CPJ is pleased that Kamran Yousuf has been granted bail and that the court acknowledged he was working as a journalist at the time of his arrest. Given the prosecution's failure to present any credible evidence against him, Indian authorities should immediately drop all charges," CPJ Deputy Executive Director Robert Mahoney said. "The charges against Yousuf are a clear attempt to muzzle reporting on the ongoing conflict in Kashmir and the photojournalist should never have been detained in the first place."
Yousuf is a freelance photojournalist from India's restive Jammu and Kashmir state. He was arrested by India's NIA on September 5, 2017, and later charged with sedition, criminal conspiracy, and attempting to wage war against India, CPJ documented.