“I have come out of jail after 28 months. I want to thank the media for supporting me. False allegations were put against me. I am happy to be out now,” Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan told news agency ANI after he walked out of prison on Thursday.
Kappan had been in jail since September 2020, when he was arrested under UAPA charges while going to Hathras to report on the rape case and subsequent death of a Dalit woman. He was granted bail in the case by the Supreme Court on September 9, 2022. But he remained in jail in connection with a PMLA case, filed against him and others by the Enforcement Directorate in February last year.
On Wednesday, a sessions court in Lucknow signed release orders a month after the journalist was granted bail by the Allahabad High Court in a PMLA case.
Kappan’s lawyer, advocate Mohamed Dhanish, had told Newslaundry that the journalist couldn't be released on Wednesday as the release order was sent to the prison authorities after 4 pm. Sureties in the case have also been verified.
In the release order, the judge directed the superintendent to release Kappan if he was not wanted in any other case after a personal bond had been obtained from him.
In September last year, the Supreme Court granted bail to the journalist in the UAPA case, stating that “every citizen has the right to free expression”. However, he was only granted bail in the PMLA case by the Allahabad High Court in December last year.