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Amnesty pleads for release of Assam journalist, at risk of 12-month detention without charge

Amnesty International India Tuesday asked the Assam government to release a journalist from custody and guarantee him a fair trial after he was accused of having links with banned militant outfits.

Kokrajhar-based 44-year-old Jaikhlong Brahma was detained Sep 2.

He was sent to judicial custody by a court for two weeks. A detention order under the National Security Act (NSA), 1980, which allows administrative detention for up to 12 months, was issued by the local administration Sep 9.

“He (Brahma) is at risk of being detained for 12 months without charge or trial under the NSA,” said a statement issued Tuesday by Amnesty.

Shailesh Rai, programmes director at Amnesty, said: “The use of administrative detention under the NSA or any other legislation must end and all legislation that facilitates the use of administrative detention should be repealed,”

“Administrative detention is a system that allows the authorities to detain individuals by executive order without charge or trial, and denies them the safeguards of a fair trial as required under international law,” the Amnesty statement said.

It said the NSA detention order states that Brahma “has been indulging in various types of violent activities with secessionist aims”.

The order also said Brahma maintained “personal link with the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (anti-talk faction or Songbijit faction)”, provoked and abetted the militants to commit killings and arson, and accepted money from the outfit in exchange for producing and broadcasting video reports about it.

The Kokrajhar Press Club has issued a statement refuting the allegations against Brahma, and said his wife was also facing harassment from police.

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