Journalist Siddique Kappan walks out of Lucknow jail on bail
Uttar Pradesh, February 2: Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan has been released from the jail after spending over two years in jail under charges including the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
Kappan was in prison since October 5, 2020 after being arrested by Uttar Pradesh police for travelling to Hathras to report on the Hathras rape case.
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A special Sessions Court in Lucknow on Thursday signed Kappan's release order more than five weeks after he got bail in the PMLA case lodged by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
The journalist along with three others were arrested at the Mathura toll plaza by the Uttar Pradesh police on charges of UAPA for inciting violence in the alleged rape of a young woman whose death sparked protests across the country. Later he was booked under other cases including in the PMLA case lodged by the ED.
As soon as he has been released from the jail he stated that, "I have come out of jail after 28 months. I want to thank the media for supporting me. False allegations were put against me. I am happy to be out now."
In the meanwhile, Congress leader P Chidambaram also tweeted in favour of the journalist claiming Article 21 (freedom of expression) has triumphed.
Taking to his Twitter handle, he wrote, "I am glad that eventually Article 21 of the Constitution has triumphed and Siddique Kappan, the journalist from Kerala, is free. Trial Court judges must push back on the demand for judicial custody which is really pre-trial incarceration."
A single bench of Justice Dinesh Kumar of the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court granted bail to Kappan on December 23, 2022, in the money laundering case lodged against him by the Directorate of Enforcement.
Due to the winter break and a long procedure of verification of sureties, it took more than a month for Siddique Kappan to move out of Lucknow jail.
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The journalist has been accused of inciting violence in the Hathras case and having a connection with the Popular Front of India (PFI), which was banned by the Centre.