The Clooney Foundation for Justice (CFJ), which was established in late 2016 by George and Amal Clooney, is following the developments in Kashmir media.
George Clooney is an American actor, film director, producer, screenwriter and philanthropist. Amal, his wife, is a Lebanese-born British barrister, specialising in international law and human rights.
TrialWatch, the Foundation’s initiative which monitors and grades the fairness of trials of vulnerable people around the world, including journalists, will monitor the trial of Asif Sultan, the award-winning Kashmiri journalist who has been in detention for over two and a half years.
“The Clooney Foundation for Justice calls on the authorities to ensure that Sultan’s bail hearing is conducted in accordance with international human rights law and any proceedings against him respect his human rights, including his right to a fair trial and to freedom of expression,” a CFJ spokesperson said in a statement.
Sultan is a journalist who wrote stories about human rights and political issues for the Kashmir Narrator.
“He has been imprisoned since his arrest in August 2018 and was only indicted 5 months later. He is now charged with supporting a terrorist group (the Hizbul Mujahideen) and conspiring to kill a police officer, and if convicted after trial, faces the death penalty,” the CFJ spokesperson said.
The indictment cites Sultan’s social media posts and possession of letter pads of the Hizbul Mujahideen in his home as evidence of his involvement with the banned group.
According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), after CPJ called for Sultan’s release in The Washington Post, the Jammu and Kashmir police responded on Twitter that Sultan was not being held for his work but for “hatching a criminal conspiracy, harbouring and supporting terrorists who martyred a police constable.”