United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders Mary Lawlor on Thursday said that journalist Rupesh Kumar Singh has been falsely charged as retaliation for his work on human rights. Lawlor also said that Singh’s health might be at risk as he remains in jail.

The Jharkhand Police had arrested the independent journalist on the allegation that he had arranged funds for Maoists. The arrest had come after Singh posted a thread on his Twitter account on the impact of industrial and air pollution on the residents of Jharkhand villages.

On Thursday, the UN special rapporteur on human rights defenders made public a letter she had written to the Indian government on October 26.

“Our related concern is that Mr Singh is reportedly falsely charged, in retaliation of his legitimate human rights work,” Lawlor wrote. “We further express concern on the health condition of Mr. Singh, that could be aggravated by sleep deprivation and its close proximity with prisoners of infectious diseases.”

The UN human rights official also said that Singh suffers from severe pain and strain in the veins of his legs that is exacerbated by mental stress. “There is a compression on his vein in his back that could be aggravated in stressful situations as the medicine that Mr. Singh is taking requires adequate sleep,” the letter read.

Singh’s family members have alleged that the police had searched their home for over nine hours before arresting the journalist last year. During the search, the police seized two mobile phones belonging to him, two laptops, a hard drive and other personal items, before arresting him, United States-based non-profit organisation Committee to Protect Journalists had said.

Singh was also among the 40 Indian journalists whose phone numbers appeared in a leaked database that reflected that they were potential targets of cyber surveillance through the use of the Pegasus hacking software that an Israeli company claims to sell only to governments.