Fact-checker Mohammed Zubair approaches Supreme Court for bail, cites death threats


Fact-checker Mohammed Zubair approaches Supreme Court for bail, cites death threats

Mohammed Zubair is a co-founder of fact-checking outlet Alt News.

New Delhi:

The Supreme Court is likely to hear tomorrow fact-checker Mohammed Zubair’s plea seeking bail and quashing of a case registered against him in Sitapur on allegations of hurting religious sentiments. 

His lawyer, Colin Gonsalves, argued for urgent listing: “There are death threats against him… People have said that they will kill him. We are worried about his safety.” Asking the court to hear the plea at 2pm today, he said, “Please see the urgency.” Justice Indira Banerjee ordered that the matter be listed tomorrow “subject to clearance by the Chief Justice of India”.

Mr Zubair, a resident of Bengaluru and co-founder of fact-checking outlet Alt News, is in Delhi’s Tihar Jail as he was first arrested by the Delhi Police on June 27 over a four-year-old tweet. He was later taken to Sitapur in UP where another FIR is registered against him as he called some Hindu right-wing leaders “hatemongers”.

His lawyer told the Supreme Court that the Allahabad High Court has refused to quash the (Sitapur) FIR against him.

The legal position now is that Mr Zubair is in jail after a Delhi court sent him to judicial custody for 14 days on July 2, after he’d been in police custody for five days. That’s for the case registered in Delhi over his tweet of March 2018, in which he’d shared a screenshot from a 1983 film.

Delhi Police had then taken him to Sitapur, 450 km away, where another FIR is registered — this one for a tweet in which he called certain right-wing leaders “hatemongers”. In that case, too, the local court ordered judicial custody, so he remains in Tihar Jail.