URGENT: Administrative Detention for Facebook Posts

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.

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 criticised the state government. He was arrested for the alleged offences 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.

Amnesty International believes that the detention of Kishorchandra Wangkhem is politically motivated, in light of his multiple arrests for expressing his opinion, under vague, overbroad, draconian and repressive legislations. These legislations have been repeatedly used to silence journalists and human rights defenders. These actions by the authorities in Manipur are a grave violation of the right to freedom of expression.

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