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Kashmiri journalist previously held for 41 months without trial interviewed by RSF

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders has interviewed Maqbool Sahil, a journalist based in Srinagar, the summer capital of the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir, who was detained for 41 months without trial. Now the editor of the Urdu-language weekly "Pukaar", Sahil has spent 19 years covering the conflict in Kashmir, in which thousands have died since 1989.

Arrested in 2004 after covering the rape of an Australian tourist for "Chattan", the newspaper he then worked for, he was beaten and tortured during two weeks of interrogation and accused of spying for a Pakistani network. He was nonetheless never tried although Indian law says every detainee must be indicted before a court within 60 days. He decided to resume working as journalist following his release on 9 January 2008.

Sahil wrote seven books while in detention. His prison diary, "Shabistan-e-wajood", was acclaimed by Reporters Without Borders in 2009.

Reporters Without Borders: Why were you arrested?

Maqbool Sahil: "I was detained solely because of my work as a journalist for the weekly 'Chattan', covering crime and doing investigative reporting. A few days before my arrest, I covered the story of an Australian woman visiting Kashmir who said she was raped by the owner of the houseboat she had been staying on. Almost all the newspapers covered the case but I dug up facts that contradicted the Australian woman's account and I wrote about this for the weekly."

Read the full interview
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    (RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders has denounced India's security services for their persecution of photojournalist Muhammad Maqbool Khokar (better known as Maqbool Sahil), who has been imprisoned since 18 September 2004 under an emergency security law, and called for the country's journalists to campaign to free him. Requests by the Jammu and Kashmir High Court and the National Human Rights Commission for his release have been ignored.

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