Police threat of jail & deportation
But released from ‘house arrest’ & free to leave hotel
Mumbai – Sunday 15 October 2023
Mumbai police lifted their de facto ‘house arrest’ of British human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell and his colleague Pliny Soocoormanee.
But both are still banned from “protesting, lobbying, leafletting or holding a press conference” about human rights abuses by nations likely to bid to host the 2036 Olympics.
They had planned to stage a human rights picket, and lobby delegates and journalists, at the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Congress, which is taking place in Mumbai from 15-17 October at the Jio conference centre.
Peter Tatchell said:
“Ending our detention in our hotel rooms, and the 24-hour police guard, followed representations made to the Indian authorities by the British Foreign Office global response team. We are very grateful for their assistance.
“We are still being denied the right to raise human rights abuses with the IOC. It is not compatible with India’s professed democracy to ban us from ‘protesting, lobbying, leafletting or holding a press conference’ about human rights abuses by nations likely to bid for the 2036 Olympics. Reported bidding nations include China, Egypt, Turkey, Qatar and Indonesia. They are all autocratic regimes that variously violate the rights of women, LGBTs, migrant workers, atheists, refugees and ethnic and religious minorities.
“The Indian constitution guarantees freedom of expression and the right to peaceful assembly and protest. We never came to India to quarrel with the Indian government but it is picking a fight with us.
“It felt ominous when a group of police came to our hotel room close to midnight on Saturday Mumbai time. But they had come to tell us that our hotel detention had been rescinded and we were free to roam. The officers urged us to stop posting on social media about our campaigns and the police restrictions imposed on us. Clearly, they are embarrassed by the bad publicity about our detention in our hotel and the ban on our protest,” said Mr Tatchell.
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