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Senior Pakistani journalist Rizwan Razi arrested on cybercrime charges

Pakistani men gather in a store as they watch a broadcast of a speech by newly appointed Prime Minister Imran Khan, in Lahore, 19 August 2018
Pakistani men gather in a store as they watch a broadcast of a speech by newly appointed Prime Minister Imran Khan, in Lahore, 19 August 2018

This statement was originally published on pakistanpressfoundation.org on 9 February 2019.

Rizwan Razi, senior Lahore based journalist, social media activist and anchor of the Dada Pota program on Din News channel, was arrested by the cybercrime wing of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on cybercrime charges.

On February 10, 2019, the journalist was released on bail. According to Attorney Ejaz Basra the court denied a federal prosecutor's request that Razi will be held without bail.

According to his son Usama, some plain clothes men entered their residence on the morning of February 9, pushed his father into their car and fled.

The journalist was held under the cybercrime act for sharing defamatory and hateful posts on his social media account of Twitter against the country's judiciary, intelligence agencies and government institutions.

A First Information Report (FIR) was also lodged against the journalist in the cybercrime wing of the FIA. The journalist is charged under U/S 11 & 20 of PECA-2016, 123-A, 500 PPC.

Speaking to the Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF), Afzal Butt, President of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) had said that they had called on the government and law enforcement agencies to immediately look into the matter, else PFUJ would hold a country-wide protest.

The Vice-President of Punjab Union of Journalists (PUJ) Amir Suhail, while talking to PPF, said such acts are an attempt to curb freedom of speech in the country.

Senior journalists, human rights activists and politicians, including Syed Talat Hussain, Nadeem Malik, Ahsan Iqbal, and Ahmad Waleed, had also condemned the arrest of the journalist and had demanded his immediate release.

Senior Pakistani journalist Nadeem Malik on his Twitter account posted that it is an extreme amount of repression to abduct a journalist. No law would ever justify such acts of using brute force to silence the media.

The PUJ along with the Lahore Press Club (LPC) staged a protest demonstration, led by the President of thr LPC, and condemned the arrest of the journalist.

Latest Tweet:

Our members @PENAmerican, @pen_int + a coalition of human rights and film orgs are demanding that the unfair crimin… https://t.co/kEpIA2CRZu

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