Renowned linguist, philosopher, historian, social critic and political commentator Noam Chomsky has endorsed a petition condemning the arrest of Jang/Geo Group owner Mir Shakilur Rahman.

According to reports, the petition stated that the arrest of Mir Shakilur Rahman, the editor-in-chief of the Jang/Geo media group in Pakistan, had taken place without a free trial or conviction.

“Not only has the trial not begun, but no charges have even been framed against him. Yet he has been in a lockup now for over a month, practically in solitary confinement,” it added.

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“Under international law, if a prisoner spends more than 22 hours alone in a prison without meaningful human interaction, it is considered solitary confinement, the psychological and health damage of which can be permanent,” the petition highlighted. 

“Rahman has been cooperating with the authorities about the case which is related to a 34-year old property transaction between two private parties. He presented himself before the investigators, flying in from outside the country,” it added.

“There is no reason to not release him from jail, particularly at a time when the global coronavirus pandemic is leading governments to set free non-violent prisoners with no criminal record, particularly if they are elderly and have health issues as Rahman does,” it noted. 

“Let the case continue against him if there is merit. Let him be arrested if he is found guilty after a trial. This is what fundamental rights are about. This is what an elected government that claims to be democratic should ensure,” the petition concluded.