During his more than 600 days behind bars, Fahad Shah, a Kashmiri journalist, had begun to lose hope that he would ever see freedom again. It was in February last year that Shah, 34, the editor of the Kashmir Walla, one of the last remaining independent news websites in the region, was arrested on charges of “glorifying terrorism” and publishing “anti-national content”.
What followed was a crushing 21 months for Shah as his high-profile case became a symbol of the growing harassment faced by Kashmiri journalists. He was granted bail in one case, only to be swiftly re-arrested and hit with new, more draconian charges.
Even as the charges against him were gradually quashed and he was given bail in three of his four cases, it was not until last month that he was finally granted relief by the courts, who found insufficient evidence to charge him with terrorism. On 23 November, on the back of a fresh bail order, he walked free from Kashmir’s Kot Bhalwal jail.
Though filled with deep relief and happiness to be back with his family, Shah, speaking from his home in Srinagar, looked frail and drawn, huddled beneath a blanket. He spoke quietly about what he had endured and said he was not able to freely discuss the cases against him.
This story was originally published in theguardian.com. Read the full story here .