Indian Journalist Ayyub Faces ‘Judicial Harassment’, Say UN Experts | Media News

India calls the allegations ‘baseless and unjustified’ after experts said Rana Ayyub was the victim of ‘relentless misogynistic’ attacks.

UN human rights experts say investigative journalist Rana Ayyub has faced ‘judicial harassment’ and urge Indian authorities to ‘swiftly’ investigate ‘relentless misogynistic and sectarian’ attacks against her on social media.

Ayyub, who is a Washington Post columnist, accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government of attacking her for her critical reporting on the government. The post office Published a full-page ad on Sunday in support of Ayyub saying “the free press is under attack in India.”

Irene Khan, special rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression, and Mary Lawlor, special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, said in a statement on Monday that Ayyub had been “maliciously targeted by anonymous threats of death and rape by organized groups”. online” for “holding the power to account through his reporting.”

“The government’s lack of conviction and proper investigation, coupled with the legal harassment it itself inflicted on Ms. Ayyub, only served to falsely legitimize the attacks and assailants and further put his safety at risk,” the statement said.

The UN statement comes days after India’s Law Enforcement Directorate launched a money laundering investigation against the investigative journalist based in the financial hub of Mumbai.

Ayyub released a statement saying “the allegations against me will not withstand fair and honest scrutiny.

“The smear campaign against me will not deter me from my professional commitment to continue to do my job as a journalist, and especially to raise critical issues and ask uncomfortable questions, as is my duty as a journalist in a constitutional democracy .”

Last month, she received online rape and death threats. Mumbai police have arrested one person in connection with the case.

Hindu supremacist groups have filed several police complaints against her for comments on the recent hijab ban in the southern state of Karnataka, ruled by Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

“Unfounded and unjustified”

But India criticized the UN statement, calling it “baseless and unwarranted”.

“Allegations of so-called judicial harassment are baseless and unjustified. India upholds the rule of law, but it is equally clear that no one is above the law,” read one Tweeter by India’s handle at the UN, Geneva.

“We expect SRs [Special Rapporteurs] be objective and accurately informed. Advancing a misleading narrative only tarnishes the reputation of @UNGeneva,” he said.

UN reporters said Ayyub continues to face increased online attacks and threats from far-right Hindu nationalist groups.

They added that for the second time in six months, “Ayyub’s bank account and other assets have been frozen in response to seemingly baseless allegations of money laundering and tax evasion, linked to his campaigns for crowdfunding to provide assistance to those affected by the pandemic.”

Last October, UN human rights experts wrote to the government about the threats against Ayyub.

Ayyub spoke about the attacks she faces on social media. She published the book The Gujarat Files, which investigated the Gujarat riots in 2002 when Modi was the chief minister of the western Indian state.

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