The peacekeeping organisation made the remark in a statement requesting Parvez’s release. This is the United Nation’s second statement on the matter in three weeks.
Parvez was arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act on November 22. He has been accused by the National Investigation Agency of criminal conspiracy and waging war against the government. The officials have alleged that Parvez had been in contact with “overground workers” of a Pakistani militant group. Overground workers help arrange logistics for militant groups.
After his arrest, Parvez was lodged in Delhi’s Rohini Jail Complex. He was presented before the court on December 4, when it was decided that he would be sent to judicial custody.
“We are concerned that one month after Mr. Parvez’s arrest, he is still deprived of liberty in what appears to be a new incident of retaliation for his legitimate activities as a human rights defender and because he has spoken out about violations,” said the United Nations.
It also criticised the Indian government’s use of UAPA “as a means of coercion to restrict civil society’s, the media’s and human rights defenders’ fundamental freedoms”.
The UAPA gives absolute power to the Centre, which can deem an activity as unlawful by way of an Official Gazette and declare it so. Under the law, investigative agencies get 180 days to probe a case, compared to 60 to 90 days under ordinary criminal law. This means an accused is eligible to apply for bail only after six months.
“We therefore once again urge the government to bring this legislation in line with India’s international legal obligations under human rights law,” the United Nations said.