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India releases a Muslim journalist after two years in prison without trial


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An Indian Muslim journalist held for more than two years without trial was released on Thursday after being released on bail in a money laundering case.

Siddig Kapan was arrested in October 2020 in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, where he had traveled to report a high-profile gang rape case.

He and three others were accused of belonging to an Islamic fundamentalist group and eventually charged with conspiracy to incite violence.

On Thursday, Kapan said he had been unjustly detained and had only traveled from his home state of Kerala to work as a reporter.

“I am innocent, I am a journalist,” he told AFP after his release from prison in the city of Lucknow.

He was granted bail in September last year but has been behind bars for months longer due to a separate money laundering case against him.

“I will continue my struggle against the tough laws. They kept me in jail even after I was released on bail,” he told NDTV.

“These two years have been very difficult, but I have never been afraid.”

India has fallen 10 places in Reporters Without Borders’ ranking of press freedom to 150 out of 180 countries surveyed since Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government came to power in 2014.

Critical journalists often find themselves behind bars and hounded on social media by supporters of the ruling BJP.

According to Reporters Without Borders, there are nine other journalists in Indian prisons.

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