Journalist Asad Toor’s Remand Extended in Social Media Smear Campaign Case | Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Pakistan Press Foundation

Journalist Asad Toor’s Remand Extended in Social Media Smear Campaign Case

Pakistan Press Foundation

A district and sessions court in Islamabad has extended the remand of journalist and YouTuber Asad Toor by three days. The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) will retain custody of Toor as they investigate allegations of his involvement in a social media campaign targeting Pakistan’s Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa.

The court’s decision came after arguments concluded on March 3. During arguments before Duty Magistrate Abbas Shah, Toor refused to hand over his phone or reveal his sources, citing the importance of protecting journalistic integrity.

Toor had been on a hunger strike to protest his arrest, but ended his strike following discussions with journalists in the courtroom. The Islamabad High Court (IHC) previously ordered a medical examination for Asad Ali Toor on March 1. This decision came after Toor’s lawyer, Imaan Zainab Mazari, informed the court of his hunger strike and raised concerns about his health. The FIA denied that Toor was on a hunger strike, but the court ordered an examination regardless. Toor began his hunger strike on March 1, and according to his lawyer, said, “I am the voice of the voiceless, and now they are muzzling my voice. I protest this action.”

Toor was initially remanded into FIA custody for five days on February 27 by Judicial Magistrate Islamabad Muhammad Shabbir. He is accused of running a defamatory campaign against the judiciary on social media platforms, fueling anti-state activities, and violating the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act 2016.

Asad Toor was arrested by the FIA’s Cyber Crime Wing in Islamabad on February 26 when he appeared before the FIA Cyber Crime Wing in Islamabad in response to the latest of a series of notices issued to him.

Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) called for the immediate release of Toor and termed the repeat issuance of summons to a journalist, hours-long detentions, and ultimately, his arrest a violation of the Constitutional right to free expression.

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