Amnesty India calls for release of Umar Khalid

Amnesty International India on Thursday said the denial of bail to former Jawaharlal Nehru University student leader Umar Khalid in the Delhi riots case was a blow to those exercising their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, and called for his immediate release.

This was the first statement by AII since it announced the closure of its offices in September 2020, after the Enforcement Directorate froze its bank accounts in connection with an alleged money laundering case. Aakar Patel, the chair of board of AII, confirmed to The Hindu that Thursday’s statement was the first by AII since the statement announcing the closure of offices in 2020.

Asked whether AII had re-opened offices, Mr. Patel said: “Our presence has remained. We had suspended operations, given our inability to pay salaries to our employees after the second freeze on our accounts.”

He said the AII had not been able to access its bank accounts. “However we are in various stages of litigation and hope to be able to access our accounts soon,” he said.