A reporter for the Urdu-language newspaper Nai Baat, Nasrullah Chaudhry received the jail sentence from an anti-terrorism court in the southern city of Karachi on 26 December. He was also fined 15,000 rupees.
After his arrest in the night of 9 and 10 November 2018 in alleged possession of documents “inciting religious hatred and Jihad,” Chaudry was accused of links with the terrorist organization Al Qaeda. He has always denied any connection with terrorist activists or possessing documents inciting hate crimes.
“After an investigation lasting more than a year, the prosecution was unable to produce any evidence of Nasrullah Chaudhry’s guilt,” said Daniel Bastard, the head of RSF’s Asia-Pacific desk.
“We call on Karachi’s courts to quash this grossly unfair conviction and, in the absence of any additional supporting evidence, to dismiss all further proceedings against him. The best way to prevent any acts of terrorism is to allow journalists to do their investigative reporting.”
Ever since his arrest, he has accused the authorities of fabricating the case against him. He has worked as a journalist for 20 years and has the unanimous support of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists and the Karachi press club.
Pakistan is ranked 142nd out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2019 World Press Freedom Index.