Journalist abducted, tortured
Umer Cheema, reporter of Investigation Cell of English daily “The News”, was abducted from Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan, on September 4, 2010 by a group of 12 unidentified men. The abductors drove him to an unknown place, kept him in confinement for six hours, stripped him naked, shaved his hair, eyebrow and moustache and subjected him to physical and mental torture. They rel n Talagang, 120 kilometres from Islamabad. Cheema suspected that an intelligence agency was behind the kidnapping.
Cheema was heading home at 3.30am when two vehicles intercepted his car. Twelve men wearing police uniforms surrounded him and said that he had hit and killed a man. He was handcuffed, blindfolded and dragged into one of the vehicles and taken to an unknown place after 45 to 50 minutes drive.
According to “The News”, Cheema said he was stripped naked, thrown on the floor and beaten with a leather belt. They then hanged him upside down and shaved off his head, eyebrows and moustaches. “ ;You are tories. What is your agenda? You are working for a lobby which favoured martial law,” Cheema quoted the abductors as saying. The kidnappers also made video clips of Cheema along with still photographs and threatened that if he went to the media about this incident his video and pictures would be released on YouTube.
While abandoning him at Talagang, the captors warned him to stop writing against the government, threatening that his senior colleague Ansar Abbasi, Editor Investigations of “The News” will be their next target. Cheema said the kidnappers also used abusive language about Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.
Cheema lodged a complaint with the police and the Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani ordered an enquiry into the incident. The Prime Minister rang up Cheema to express sorrow over the kidnapping and assault. The prime minister assured him that the matter would be thoroughly investigated to bring the culprits to book.
Lahore High Court (LHC) Chief Justice Khwaja Muhammad Sharif has taken suo moto notice of the attack on reporter Cheema and summoned the Islamabad inspector general police. Taking notice of the incident, the chief justice observed that attack of the journalist was an attack on press freedom, which was protected under the Constitution of Pakistan.
Source: Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)