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08 June 2012

Fasih Mehmood's disappearance is a challenge to civil society says Indian American Muslim Group

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IMO News Service

Indian American Muslim Council, an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India's pluralist and tolerant ethos, has noted with grave concern the case of Fasih Mehmood who was apprehended in Saudi Arabia on May 13, 2012 by Indian and Saudi agencies for alleged terror links, but remains unaccounted for since then.

Regardless of whether Fasih Mehmood is presently in India or Saudi Arabia, the fact that he was seized by Saudi police in the presence of Indian sleuths makes it imperative that the Home Ministry and the Ministry of External Affairs provide details of Fasih's whereabouts, and explain why he could not be accounted for, over 3 weeks after his arrest.

Saudi officials have been quoted in the media as stating that Fasih was arrested on May 13 and deported the same day, following a request by Ministry of External Affairs in India. However, Home Minister P. Chidambaram has denied that Fasih Mehmood is in the custody of Indian authorities. On June 3, India sought Fasih's deportation from Saudi Arabia accusing him of involvement in the Chinnaswamy Stadium and Jama Masjid blasts in April and September 2010 respectively.

Fasih Mehmood is the fourteenth youngster from Darbhanga district in Bihar to be detained on alleged charges of terrorism. Although detained on May 13, Fasih has not been produced in any court of law yet. His case points to a new level of impunity with which citizens' rights are trampled upon even in foreign countries. It also underscores the need for the government to implement arresting protocols.

"Fasih Mehmood's illegal detention and the government's inadequate explanations at the Supreme Court hearings on June 1 and June 6, are shocking. The track record of law enforcement agencies in forcing extractions under duress does not inspire confidence in the claims of the security agencies," said Shaheen Khateeb, President of IAMC. "While the government has the authority and the responsibility to combat terrorism and defend the nation's security, random arrests and lack of due process only subvert the rule of law, and alienate sections of the community," added Mr. Khateeb.

IAMC has welcomed the directive of India's Supreme Court to the central government to provide details of Fasih Mehmood's whereabouts.

Indian American Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with 13 chapters across the nation.

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