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Call for investigation of alleged torture of detained journalist

(IFJ/IFEX) - 3 November 2011 - The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins partner organisations in the South Asia Media Solidarity Network (SAMSN) in expressing serious concern at reports of the alleged torture in custody of journalist Lingaram Kodopi in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh.

Kodopi, a freelance journalist from one of the indigenous communities of Chhattisgarh, was arrested on September 10 on charges of raising funds for a banned Maoist insurgent group.

Reports from Chhattisgarh indicate that when Kodopi appeared in court in Dantewada, a southern district of the state, on November 1, he met with members of his family and informed them that he had been beaten while in custody and forced to sign a number of blank sheets of paper.

"The IFJ calls for a thorough investigation into these allegations and regular reporting to the judicial authorities on Kodopi's wellbeing," IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.

Kodopi's reporting through mobile phone and internet-based citizen journalism service CGNet Swara was instrumental in bringing to light serious civilian casualties inflicted by a major anti-insurgency operation in Dantewada district in March. Observers in Chhattisgarh believe that his arrest may have been retribution for this and several previous reports that he filed.

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