Human Rights “Siddique Kappan is chained to cot like an animal...

“Siddique Kappan is chained to cot like an animal in hospital,” says lawyer in a petition to CJI

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The Supreme Court has received an immediate petition seeking intervention to release Kerala Journalist Siddique Kappan from Mathura Medical College to Mathura Jail as his life is in extreme danger.

The petition is filed by Advocate Will Mathews, which says, “The wife of Siddique Kappan, came to know that Kappan is chained like an animal to a cot of the Medical College Hospital, Mathura, without mobility, and he neither could take food, nor could go to the toilet for the last more than 4 days, and is very critical.”

The petition comes after Siddique Kappan tested positive for Covid-19 and is admitted to the hospital in Mathura.

“If immediate corrective steps are not taken, it will result in his untimely death,” reads the plea titled as “Most urgent/life in danger/pending Habeas Corpus matter.”

It was directly sent to the newly appointed Chief Justice of India, Justice RV Ramana.

The plea further says, “Despite having knowledge about the procedure established by law for mentioning, I am forced to approach your lordship directly, being an issue arising out of a Habeas Corpus petition pending more than 6 months, believing ‘Justice is above all, and even laws, rules and guidelines bend before it’. Importantly, media is the breath of democracy, and it is an attempt for giving breath to a media person, who is in jail for the last more than 6 months, and the Habeas Corpus petition also pending since 06.10.2020. The representation given to Jail Superintendent Mathura by a message is pending.”

Kappan’s wife Raihana said, “He called me today from somebody’s phone. He told me that the hospital authorities are not allowing him to go to the toilet. He is handcuffed to the bed and is not allowed to move. He is urinating in a plastic bottle. He is a human being. He has to go to the toilet too, right,” as quoted by The Week.

On April 3, Uttar Pradesh Police’ Special Task Force filed a 5,000-page charge sheet against him. He was arrested under the draconian Unlawful Activities and Prevention Act in Hatharas, in October last year while he was on his way to report the story of the brutal gang-rape and murder of a Dalit woman by upper-caste Hindu men in Uttar Pradesh.

On 5 October last year, the Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) had filed a habeas corpus petition, challenging his custody.

The petition argued that the arrest was illegal and unconstitutional and contended that Kappan’s detention violates his fundamental rights under articles 14 (right to equality), 19 (freedom of speech and expression) and 21 (right to life) of the Constitution.

However, this habeas corpus stands pending before the Supreme Court of India for over six months now, along with his regular bail application that was filed more than five months ago.
Kappan was only granted a five-day interim bail considering his 90 year old mother’s deteriorating health.

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