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Kashmiri Journalist Fahad Shah Released After Nearly Two Years in Detention

Fahad Shah, the 31-year-old journalist and editor of The Kashmir Walla, has been released from detention after almost two years. He arrived at his residence in Srinagar on Thursday following his release from Kot Bhalwal in Jammu.

A family member, confirming the news to The Kashmiriyat, said that the award-winning journalist Fahad Shah reached his home on Thursday.

Shah was initially summoned on February 4, 2022, in connection with The Kashmir Walla’s coverage of an encounter in Pulwama. He was arrested and accused of disseminating ‘anti-national’ content with the alleged intention of creating fear among the public.

Despite obtaining bail in three cases, Fahad Shah found himself under the grasp of the Public Safety Act, which allows authorities to detain an individual for up to two years.

The journalist had earlier faced arrest by the State Investigation Agency of J&K Police on terrorism charges related to an article published in The Kashmir Walla in 2011. The news outlet itself was banned under the Information Technology Act earlier this year.

However, the high court intervened, overturning charges of terror conspiracy and waging war against the country under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), 1967.

The court said that such charges against Shah for an 11-year-old article “collide headlong with the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression enshrined in Article 19 of the Constitution.”

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) welcomed Fahad Shah’s release, emphasizing the need for authorities to lift the ban on The Kashmir Walla.

In a tweet, CPJ stated, “We welcome the release of Fahad Shah but urge authorities to lift the ban on The Kashmir Walla, ensuring the freedom of the press prevails.”

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