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Stockholm- The international human rights foundation Skyline calls on the Indian authorities to immediately release journalist and fact-checker "Mohammed Zubair," stressing that what is happening to him is a form of arbitrary revenge against the backdrop of the revelation of the offensive remarks made by ruling party spokesperson Nopur Sharma insulting the Prophet Mohammed.

In a statement released today, Wednesday, Skyline says it regrets the arrest of prominent journalist "Mohammed Zubair", 39, one of the leading figures in the fight against Islamophobia, by Delhi Police on June 27 on the pretext of a tweet he had posted in 2018. The police claimed the tweet "insulted the Indian faith," and was then charged with other charges, including criminal conspiracy, destruction of evidence, and receiving funds from foreign parties.

It is reported that Indian authorities had moved journalist "Zubair" to a remote town on the India-Nepal border for investigative purposes and had brought new charges against him. Later on Friday, the Supreme Court granted him provisional release for four days after learning that he had received death threats, but he will remain in custody pending provisional release in the original case for which he was arrested by Delhi police. Zubair said in court that he was arrested "because of his work and because he is a Muslim."

Attorney Colin Gonsavlis, who defended Zubair in the Supreme Court, said in a press statement that there is no case against his client and that he is "a thorn in the government's side because he fights hate alone and without help."

Skyline points out that it is an attempt to make a legal adjustment to justify the arrest of "Zubair", while everything indicates that his arrest took place against the backdrop of his role in exposing the statements of the ruling party spokesperson "Nopur Sharma" insulting the Prophet Muhammad, which became a crisis issue for the Indian government and caused large local, regional and international pprotests.l

Zubair, a telecommunications engineer based in the southern city of Bangalore, and his colleague. Prateek Sinha founded the website AltNews in 2017 to combat fake news. As part of his professional work, "Zubair" recently points out Islamophobic remarks made by a spokesman for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) during a televised debate.

Over the past five years, his website has also helped debunk much fake news and media misinformation about religion and the caste system in India, as well as myths that have no scientific basis.

The site published 3,000 posts that were viewed 60 million times, which made it a target of the government from the beginning because it focused on fake videos that targeted the Muslim minority in India.

A day before his arrest, journalist Muhammad Zubair shared that he had received a message from Twitter that his tweet had been banned in India, in which he had posted a video of a Hindu activist calling for attacking and looting Muslims in the country.

Skyline emphasises that freedom of expression is a fundamental human right enshrined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It calls on Indian authorities to immediately release Zubair and ensure his safety, as well as allow other journalists to work freely and guarantee the public's right to access accurate, impartial, and unbiased information.

Skyline calls on international bodies concerned with press freedom and United Nations special procedures to pressure Indian authorities to cease punitive measures against press freedom and ensure a free and pluralistic press as the basis for democratic governance