Detained Kashmir journalist and other cases in August One Free Press coalition list

Journalist Aasif Sultan has been imprisoned one year without due process for covering conflict. PHOTO: FREE AASIF SULTAN/FACEBOOK
Journalist Aasif Sultan has been imprisoned one year without due process for covering conflict. PHOTO: FREE AASIF SULTAN/FACEBOOK

Arrested on "anti-state" charges and repeatedly denied bail, the reporter for Kashmir Narrator, Mr Aasif Sultan, will have been imprisoned for one year on Aug 27.

His story, alongside nine others, are told in August's list of "10 Most Urgent" cases of journalists under attack that has been compiled by the One Free Press Coalition, a group that comprises pre-eminent editors and publishers who safeguard journalists persecuted for pursuing the truth.

To counter the rising threat to media freedom, the One Free Press Coalition was established during a meeting of the International Media Council at the World Economic Forum in March.

The Straits Times joined the alliance in May.

According to a police statement seen by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), the Indian journalist was detained during a raid on his home in Srinagar and later charged with "complicity" in "harbouring known terrorists" under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

Indian police had illegally held him for six days without charge, during which he was questioned by Indian police, said The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ).

Mr Sultan has been repeatedly interrogated on his reporting on the conflict in Kashmir and on the slain Kashmiri militant Burhan Wani, reported Indian news website Scroll.

CPJ reported that no trial has gone under way, and no charge sheet had been filed.

Here are the nine other cases mentioned in August's list of "10 Most Urgent" cases, in no particular order:

Truong Duy Nhat, Vietnam


Blogger Truong Duy Nhat and his wife and daughter at Vinh airport in 2015. PHOTO: TRUONG HUY SAN/FACEBOOK 

The blogger with US Congress-funded Radio Free Asia (RFA), went missing in January in Bangkok, one day after he had applied for refugee status.

The Vietnamese blogger is currently held without charge in Hanoi's T-16 detention centre and Thailand's status as a regional safe haven for journalists has deteriorated under nearly five years of military rule. His daughter Thuc Doan Truong told CPJ and RFA that she believes he was taken from Thailand on Jan 26 against his will. "It's clear that my father did not voluntarily go back to Vietnam," she told RFA.

Paul Chouta, Cameroon


PHOTO: PAUL CHOUTA/FACEBOOK

The Cameroon Web reporter was arrested in May, denied bail and charged with defamation and spreading false news. Mr Chouta's editor said he suspects the case was in retaliation for critical reporting. His case has been delayed until Aug 13 and he remains in a maximum-security prison.

Ayse Nazli Ilicak, Turkey

Turkish commentator for opposition newspaper Ozgur Dusunce and Can Erzincan TV, Ayse Nazli Ilicak, was arrested and sentenced in February 2018 to life without parole for trying to overturn the constitution through her journalism. In Turkey, life sentences without parole equate to 30 years in solitary confinement, with limited visits.

Marzieh Amiri, Iran

Economics reporter at Teheran-based newspaper Shargh Daily, Marzieh Amiri, was arrested by Iranian authorities as she covered May Day demonstrations. Her family has had limited contact with her since. Authorities have accused Ms Amiri of committing crimes against national security without giving further details.

Azimjon Askarov, Kyrgyzstan


The Kyrgyz court upholds the life sentence of award-winning journalist Azimjon Askarov for documenting human rights abuses. 
PHOTO: COURTESY OF SON SHERZOD ASKAROV 

The award-winning journalist, who is an ethnic Uzbek, has spent nine years in prison on trumped-up charges for his reporting on human-rights violations. Despite persistent international condemnation and calls for his release, a Kyrgyz court that had reviewed his case in light of new legislation ruled to uphold his life sentence on July 30.

Jones Abiri, Nigeria


Nigerian journalist Jones Abiri (middle) was re-arrested on terrorism and cybercrime charges.
PHOTO: JONATHAN ROZEN 

The publisher and editor-in-chief of the Weekly Source was re-arrested on charges under Nigeria's cybercrimes act, anti-sabotage act and terrorism prevention act for crimes allegedly carried out in 2016. The charges are the same ones that a court threw out after he was held without access to his family or a lawyer from 2016 to 2018.

Juan Pardinas, Mexico

Editor-in-chief of Mexican newspaper Reforma, Juan Pardinas, received a barrage of online harassment and threats after President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador criticised the newspaper in April. Mr Lopez Obrador acknowledged the threats against Mr Pardinas and said that his government had offered protective measures to the journalist.

Azory Gwanda, Tanzania


Azory Gwanda, who was working in rural Tanzania, has been missing since Nov 21, 2017. PHOTO: MWANANCHI PUBLICATIONS LIMITED

A freelance journalist investigating mysterious killings in rural Tanzania, Mr Azory Gwanda, has been missing since 2017. Mr Gwanda was said to be missing - and believed to be dead - by Tanzanian Foreign Minister Palamagamba Kabudi, but has since backtracked amid requests for clarification.

Jamal Khashoggi, Saudi Arabia


The late Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi attending a press conference in 2014. PHOTO: AFP

Despite findings from the CIA that point to the Saudi crown prince's involvement in the brutal murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, no independent UN criminal investigation has been launched. Calls for the White House to release intelligence reports have gone unheeded, along with a deadline to reply to Congress as required under the US Global Magnitsky Act.


This is the sixth list released by the One Free Press Coalition. The coalition's other members include the Associated Press, Bloomberg News, The Boston Globe, Buzzfeed, Huff Post (formerly The Huffington Post), Insider Inc, Quartz, Time, Voice of America, The Washington Post, Wired and Yahoo News.

European members include CNN Money Switzerland, Corriere Della Sera, De Standaard, Deutsche Welle, Euractiv, Le Temps, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Republik, Reuters and Suddeutsche Zeitung.

From Asia, The Financial Times, India Today, Middle East Broadcasting Networks and Radio Free Asia have joined the network together with The Straits Times, while those from the rest of the Americas are AmericaEconomia, Estadao, Office of Cuba Broadcasting and TV Azteca.

Members of the public can join the conversation using the hashtag #OneFreePress and follow developments on Twitter @OneFreePress. To see the "10 Most Urgent" list every month, readers can visit www.onefreepresscoalition.com or @OneFreePress on Twitter.