• Urgent Action

Urgent Action: Administrative Detention for Facebook Posts (India: UA 3.19)

January 15, 2019

Kishorchandra Wangkhem, a journalist based in Manipur, India, was arrested in August, and again in November 2018, because of Facebook posts where he criticized the government. While he was released on bail in both cases, on 27 November, he was arrested under the National Security Act (NSA). This draconian administrative detention law allows for him to be imprisoned for 12 months without charge or trial, in violation of regular criminal justice safeguards. The High Court of Manipur will hear his challenge to his detention under the NSA on 1 February 2019.

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Chief Minister of Manipur N Biren Singh Manipur CM Office, 4th Block, Western Block, New Secretariat Imphal, Manipur, India – 795001 Fax: +9103852451398 Email: [email protected]
Ambassador Harsh Vardhan Shringla Embassy of India 2107 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington DC 20008 Phone: 202 939 7000 | Fax: 202 265 4351 Email: [email protected] Contact Form: https://www.indianembassy.org/pages.php?id=15 Twitter: @HarshShringla @IndianEmbassyUS Facebook: @IndiaInUSA Salutation: Dear Ambassador

Dear Chief Minister, Kishorchandra Wangkhem, a journalist based in Manipur, has been held in administrative detention since 27 November 2018 under the National Security Act (NSA). The detention order against him references his Facebook posts criticizing the government and declares that if he were released he would continue to act in a manner “prejudicial to the security of the state and maintenance of public order”. This is not the first time Kishorchandra Wangkhem has been detained for his posts on Facebook. He was arrested on 9 August 2018, for Facebook posts two days prior, where he criticized the state government. He was arrested for the alleged offenses of ‘making statements promoting enmity and ill will’ and ‘defamation’; he was subsequently released on bail. On 20 November 2018, he was arrested for the alleged offence of ‘sedition’, in relation to Facebook videos he posted on 19 November that criticized the Chief Minister of Manipur and the Prime Minister of India. He was released on bail on 26 November, as the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Imphal West, noted that he was merely expressing his opinion. However, he was taken into custody under the NSA the following day. I am very concerned that Kishorchandra Wangkhem is being targeted using repressive laws for simply exercising his right to freedom of expression. Many of the laws and criminal provisions that he has been arrested under, such as criminal ‘defamation’, ‘sedition’, and the National Security Act do not meet international standards and have been criticized for being vague, overbroad, and repressive. I call on you to Immediately and unconditionally release Kishorchandra Wangkhem from administrative detention and ensure that he is given a fair trial for all pending criminal cases, in accordance with international human rights standards. Pending his release, ensure he is not subjected to torture or other ill-treatment; and end the use of administrative detention and desist from using the criminal provisions of defamation and sedition, against journalists and human rights defenders in Manipur. Yours sincerely, ADDITIONAL RESOURCES