SRINAGAR: A court in Srinagar has granted bail to Kashmiri journalist Asif Sultan in a case under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), media reports said.

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Sultan, who was arrested this year shortly after being released on orders from the Jammu  Kashmir and Ladakh High Court in a preventive detention case, received bail from Additional Sessions Judge Sandeep Gandotra. The judge noted that the mere application of UAPA provisions does not automatically justify rejecting bail without considering other legal requirements.

While granting bail, the court imposed stringent conditions on Sultan. He is prohibited from using encrypted messaging apps or proxy networks such as VPNs to avoid compliance with the India Telegraph Act and the Indian Wireless Act. Additionally, Sultan must seek court permission to purchase a new mobile handset or SIM card if needed due to damage, loss, theft, or upgrade.

Sultan has been in custody since 2018, initially arrested in another UAPA case for which he was granted bail in 2022. However, he was subsequently detained under the JK Public Safety Act.

Following his release from an Uttar Pradesh jail in February this year, Sultan was re-arrested in the current UAPA case. His counsel argued that he was arrested without justifiable reason as he was not present at the incident’s location.

The court observed that the incident occurred over five years ago, providing ample time for the investigation, and that further detention would not serve any purpose. Given the nature of the allegations and Sultan’s 72-day custody in this case, the court granted bail subject to several conditions.

 

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