Journalists anywhere in the world should be allowed to express themselves freely and without the threat of harassment, a spokesperson for UN chief Antonio Guterres said on Tuesday in response to a question about the arrest of AltNews cofounder Mohammed Zubair.
“In any place around the world, it is very important that people be allowed to express themselves freely, journalists be allowed to express themselves freely and without the threat of any harassment,” Stephane Dujarric said.
Replying to another question on whether he was calling for Zubair’s release, Dujarric said, “Journalists should not be jailed for what they write, what they tweet and what they say. And that goes for anywhere in the world, including in this room.”
Zubair wasarrested by the Delhi police on Monday fora tweet from four years ago. Charges against him include hurting religious sentiments and promoting enmity. He was remanded to four days in police custody on Tuesday.
In the court on Tuesday, his lawyer Vrinda Grover said the tweet was a screenshot from a 1983 Bollywood film andthat the entire case "borders on absurdity". "Prima facie, where is the case? Their investigation is based on a tweet,"she asked. "Can my liberty be restrained even for a day because I am somebody who doesn't agree with someone in power?"
Referring to Zubair, Grover told the court, "Many have tweeted the same, the only difference between those handles and mine is my faith, my name and my profession."
The journalist’s arrest has been condemned by journalists, politicians and press bodies.
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