Amnesty India says Masarat Alam’s release drew attention to PSA abuse

Amnesty India said that many of those being held under PSA despite having committed no criminal acts.

Written by Adil Akhzer | Srinagar | Updated: March 13, 2015 5:15:42 pm
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Human rights group Amnesty International India on Friday said that the release of senior separatist leader Masarat Alam Bhat, who has been detained multiple times under the J-K Public Safety Act, has once again drawn “attention to the abuses enabled by this oppressive law.”

The group, in a statement issued on Friday, has also demanded the government must ensure fair trial for those who have been detained under the PSA. “Estimates of the number detained under the PSA since 1991 range from 8,000-20,000. In August 2014, the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister said that 76 people were being detained under the PSA as of July 2014,” it said.

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According to the statement, Amnesty International research has showed that the implementation of the PSA is often “arbitrary and abusive”, with many of those being held despite having committed “no recognizably criminal acts.”

“The PSA’s vague and over-broad provisions facilitate a range of human rights violations in practice,” said the statement.

It said that those held under the PSA can face up to two years in detention. “But the Jammu and Kashmir authorities consistently thwart court orders for the release of improperly detained individuals by issuing successive detention orders. Many detainees are thus trapped in a cycle of detention,” it added.

“AI India takes no position on the guilt or innocence of those detained under the PSA. Instead, it argues that all detained persons must be charged with recognized criminal offences and promptly tried by a court that meets international fair trial standards, or else be released,” said the statement.

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