Retour page d'accueil

IDHAE World  Globebservatory for Defence Rights and attacks against lawyers

OTHER IDHAE - URGENT APPEALS

OBSERVATORY FOR THE PROTECTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS

Amnesty nternational – Worldwide appeals

Human Rights Watch Campaigns (HRW)

Centre pour l'indépendance des magistrats et des avocats

Digital Freedom Network

International Freedom of Expression Exchange

Asia Human Rights Alert

Retour page d'accueil

URGENT ACTION

 

INDIA

 

30 June 2008

 

 Attempted assassination of human rights defender, Advocate

Parvez Imroz

Retour page d'accueil

Ludovic Trarieux Prizewinner 2006

 

Source    International People’s Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Indian-administered Kashmir .

 

 

 

 

On Monday, June 30, the state forces attempted to assassinate Advocate Parvez Imroz, co-convener of the International People’s Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Indian-administered Kashmir (http://www.kashmirprocess.org). His statement is included below.

Advocate Imroz is co-founder of the Jammu & Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) and the Association for Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP). He is a distinguished human rights lawyer and recipient of the Ludovic-Trarieux International Human Rights Prize of 2006.   (See also: Cérémonie de Remise du Prix 2006.)

Advocate Mihir Desai, Legal Counsel for the Tribunal, said: “This reflects the legal and political impunity under which the CRPF and the SOG operate in the state”.

Dr. Angana Chatterji, Tribunal co-convener, said: “The attempt to assassinate Advocate Imroz is cowardly and brutal. This act of the police displays the arrogance and the state of exception in place in Indian-administered Kashmir . This attack is an attempt to halt the International People’s Tribunal from continuing its work. Our findings on the mass graves earlier and last week, and the state’s attempts to intimidate and threaten us, evidence the Government of India’s abject disregard for justice”.

Last week the Tribunal’s investigation into mass graves and nameless in Baramulla and Kupwara led to the targeting and harassment of co-conveners Dr. Angana Chatterji and Advocate Imroz, and Tribunal crew. The surveillance by intelligence personnel has escalated: Mr. Khurram Parvez, Tribunal Liaison, has been previously targeted and remains under surveillance, and Dr. Chatterji was again harassed by intelligence and police on June 30 while conducting Tribunal work. Dr. Chatterji, Advocate Imroz, Advocate Desai, and Mr. Parvez and other members of Tribunal met with families who narrated that their sons had been killed by the police in the violence of last week. The Tribunal conducted its work in curfew-like conditions as Srinagar and various parts of Kashmir remains extremely volatile following last week’s events.

This latest attack is an escalation in the forms of state-led intimidation, harassment, and assault aimed at the Tribunal. The attack on Advocate Imroz attempts to make vulnerable the Tribunal and to instil fear in other Tribunal members in an attempt to stop this process. The Tribunal Conveners, Angana Chatterji, Parvez Imroz, Gautam Navlakha, Zaheer-Ud-Din, the Tribunal Legal Counsel, Mihir Desai, and Tribunal Liaison, Khurram Parvez, remain committed to the work on justice and human rights in Indian-administered Kashmir .

Sincerely,

Angana Chatterji, Parvez Imroz, Gautam Navlakha, Zahir-Ud-Din, Mihir Desai, Khurram Parvez

Tribunal Conveners, Legal Counsel, and Liaison

________________________________________

Advocate Parvez Imroz’s Statement:

On 30 June 2008, at 10.10 pm, when Parvez Imroz and his family was about to retire for the evening, Roksana, his wife informed him that there was a knock at the front door. She was extremely afraid, given the two prior assassination attempts on Advocate Imroz’s life. She and Advocate Imroz asked ‘Who are you?’ to those at the front door. They responded aggressively, asking Advocate Imroz by name to open the door. Advocate Imroz was apprehensive after the intimidation of the Tribunal last week when it was undertaking a fact-finding on mass graves in Baramulla and Kupwara. He went to another room at the back of the house and shouted across to his brother, Sheik Mustaq Ahmad, who lived next door. Mr. Ahmad shined a torch at Advocate Imroz’s door and asked the persons at the front door to identify themselves. The persons knocking at the door very aggressively asked Mr. Ahmad to shut off the torch. Meanwhile, Advocate Imroz’s nephew came out of Mr. Ahmad’s house and ran toward Advocate Imroz’s house, fearful, as he stated later, that Advocate Imroz was being taken by the army.

Then, the perpetrators fired one shot in the dark, and it appeared that shot was fired in the direction that Advocate Imroz’s nephew was coming from. The lights down the path had been broken.

After seconds, the perpetrators threw a grenade in Advocate Imroz’s compound outside his front door, which exploded into a fireball. They also threw a tear gas and fired two blank shots while leaving.

The perpetrators left at around approximately 10.30 pm. On the way, the perpetrators beat one male neighbour.

Meanwhile, community members had made an announcement from the village mosque, and people had gathered down the path. The villagers also stated that they had seen one large armoured vehicle and two Gypsy cars, and men in CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force) uniform and SOG (Special Operations Group) uniform.

[Note: Advocate Imroz's home is located in Kralpura village approximately 8 kilometres from Srinagar .]

Biography :

Parvez Imroz is a human rights lawyer and a civil rights activist in Srinagar, the capital of Jammu and Kashmir. He graduated in Science from Srinagar in the year 1972 and then got his LLB degree at the Law College Aligarh Muslim University in 1975. Imroz joined the J&K High Court as a lawyer in 1978.  Since the end of the eighties, he has initiated and led campaigns for human rights in a context of grave violations, including killings, tortures and rapes, or forced "disappearances" with impunity. He is founder and President of the J&K Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) that works  to build local alliances between Kashmiri civil society groups.

In response to the large volume of parents at the Jammu and Kashmir High court who were filing or pursuing habeas corpus petitions, Imroz founded in 1994 the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP), which brings together hundreds of Kashmiri families whose members have been the victims of Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (EID). The APDP is a collective campaigning organization that seeks truth and justice on this human rights issue in Kashmir. The APDP is not a human rights group but an association of those suffering by the State’s tactics and they are campaigning for knowing the whereabouts of their missing relatives. Any person related to a victim of a disappearance  could be a member of the association. The association has no political affiliations or political positions; it is an independent group seeking justice and information from the state.


Parvez Imroz  has lost four colleagues in seven years at the hands of the security forces. Imroz's senior partner, H N Wanchoo, was assassinated in the early 1990s, and on April, 12, 1995, Parvez Imroz was shot when he was driving home after visiting a friend some eight kilometres from Srinagar. Two men armed with automatic weapons signalled him to stop. Imroz sped up, and as he passed beyond them he was hit in the upper left back. He lost control of the car and stopped in front of a mosque. Someone came out of the mosque and drove Imroz to the SMHS hospital. Fragments of AK-56 bullets were found in Imroz's upper back, and his left lung was damaged. After six days, Imroz was transferred to a hospital in Delhi, where he remained for fifteen days. When he returned to Srinagar, several militants of Hezb-ul Mujahedin apologized for shooting him, claiming that it was a case of mistaken identity. He was tempted to quit.

One year later, on March 8, 1996, Imroz had tea with another High Court lawyer specialising in human rights, Jalil Andrabi. Thirty minutes later, Andrabi and his wife were stopped by a unit of the 35 Rashtriya Rifles (35RR), an Indian paramilitary force. In 2004, a gunman came to the home of senior lawyer Peer Husssam-ud-Din Banday to discuss a case, and killed him.

On July 18, 2001, Imroz realized his dream, in Srinagar, he laid the foundation stone of a monument built by the APDP, in memory of Kashmiri men who have gone missing in the past 12 years of violence. In less than eight-hours, Indian police razed the foundation.

Parvez Imroz did not resign and founded the Public Commission on Human Rights (PCHR) that works extensively on the documentation of human rights violations and the dissemination of the information through its monthly dossier “The Informative Missive”. The PCHR also provides free legal assistance to the victims of human rights violations. The PCHR has published a comprehensive report on Human Rights situation in Kashmir, which includes the time period of last 16 years. Besides documentation, the commission is providing free legal assistance to the victims of human rights violations. Thousands of victims have been benefited from the PCHR’s free legal assistance.

Recently, in April 2003, Imroz organized a worldwide hunger strike, coordinated in different cities across the world, pressing for an end to disappearances, prosecution of perpetrators, and appointment of a commission to probe into all enforced disappearances. During the hunger strike the APDP received the letters of solidarity from the civil society groups from India and abroad.

In March 2004, the Association of Disappeared Persons organised a protest in Srinagar. Violent protest demonstrations followed alleged police high- handedness and over a dozen people, mostly women, were injured. Witnesses said that police targeted women in a procession by the APDP  heading towards the office of the United Nations who were demanding for the fate of their relatives who had gone missing in police custody during the last 13 years. Soon after the procession started from the APDP office, police used force to disperse it. Over a dozen women and the APDP patron, Parvez Imroz, were injured. Later police arrested 10 women and Parvez Imroz and they remained in custody for 7 hours.

Once more, on 21 April 2005, the APDP organised, in Srinagar a new laying of foundation stone for a monument to disappeared persons.

On April 30, 2005 at 5.30 am, an unidentified gunman came to Imroz’s house in the Kralpora area, stating that he wanted to discuss a case with him. Reportedly, the door was not opened for the man. Fifteen minutes later, the man allegedly banged on the door and left. The information received indicates that, at this time in the morning, there are restrictions on civilian movement in the Kashmir valley. It was alleged that the man who came to Imroz’s house that morning was a member of the army. On 11 May 2005, the Special Representative on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers of the United Nations sent an urgent appeal concerning Parvez Imroz. No response has been received from the Government of India.

 

ACT NOW FOR LAWYER

 PARVEZ IMROZ.

 

Address

President Pratibha Patil, Office of the President, Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi 110 004, Inde

Letter

Your Excellency,

I am gravely concerned following reports of the attempted assassination of human rights defender, Advocate Parvez Imroz, at his home on 30 June 2008. Advocate Parvez Imroz is the co-convener of the International People's Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Indianadministered Kashmir, and the co-founder and president of the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society.He is the distinguished recipient of the Ludovic-Trarieux International Human Rights Prize 2006 ("The international tribute of lawyers to a lawyer").

On 30 June 2008, at 10.10 pm, Advocate Parvez Imroz and his family were at home in Kralpura village, approximately 8 kilometres from Srinagar, when unknown individuals arrived to their door. When asked to identify themselves, they requested that Advocate Parvez Imroz open the door. Following incidents of harassment and intimidation against members of the International People's Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice the previous week, Advocate Parvez Imroz was concerned for his and his family's safety.

He contacted his brother who lives in the house next door and his brother responded by shining a torch at the front door of Advocate Parvez Imroz's home and again requesting that the individuals identify themselves. Advocate Parvez Imroz's nephew ran towards his uncle's home until a shot was fired by one of the persons at the door. A few seconds later a grenade was thrown at the door before it exploded into a fireball. Tear gas was also reportedly thrown at the house as well as an additional two shots being fired. At approximately 10.30 pm the perpetrators left the scene after beating one male neighbour.

Neighbours of Advocate Parvez Imroz and community members reported seeing one large armoured vehicle and two Gypsy cars, and men in uniform, both from the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and the Special Operations Group (SOG).

Previously, on 20 and 21 June 2008, Advocate Parvez Imroz, together with Dr Angana Chatterji and other members of the International People's Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice, were harassed and questioned by members of the Special Branch Kashmir (SBK) and Counter Intelligence Kashmir (CIK) after visiting mass graves in Baramulla and Kupwara, in Indian-administered Kashmir.

I believe that Advocate Parvez Imroz has been targeted as a result of his legitimate work in the defence of human rights, in particular his work against institutionalized violence and human rights violations in Indian-administered Kashmir. I am concerned for the physical and psychological integrity of Advocate Parvez Imroz, his family and all members of the Tribunal team.

I urge the authorities in India to:

1. Carry out an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the attempted assassination of Advocate Parvez Imroz with a view to publishing the results and bringing those responsible to justice in accordance with international standards ;

2. Take all necessary measures to guarantee the physical and psychological security and integrity of Advocate Parvez Imroz, his family and all members of the Tribunal team;

3. Guarantee in all circumstances that human rights defenders in India are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals, and free of all restrictions including judicial harassment.

I respectfully remind you that the United Nations Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, adopted by consensus by the UN General Assembly on 9 December 1998, recognises the legitimacy of the activities of human rights defenders, their right to freedom of association and to carry out their activities without fear of reprisals.

I would particularly draw attention to Article 6 (c): “Everyone has the right, individually and in association with others: (c) To study, discuss, form and hold opinions on the observance, both in law and in practice, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms and, through these and other appropriate means, to draw public attention to those matters”, and to Article 12 (1 and 2): “(1) Everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to participate in peaceful activities against violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms. (2) The State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration.”

Yours sincerely,

 

PLEASE ACT NOW.

 

page precedente

haut de la page

page suivante

 

Copyright © 2008 IDHAE - European Bar Human Rights Institute.

 

-->