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Pakistani Court Extends Bail For Journalist Accused Of Cybercrimes

Pakistani journalist Shahzeb Jillani
Pakistani journalist Shahzeb Jillani

A Pakistani court has extended the bail of Shahzeb Jillani, an investigative reporter accused of cybercrimes, until April 27.

Jillani, who works for the Urdu-language Dunya News TV channel, is accused of “cyberterrorism" and making “defamatory remarks against the respected institutions of Pakistan.”

A court in the port city of Karachi said on April 25 that the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), Pakistan's law enforcement agency, had failed to file a case against Jillani with the court.

The FIA had lodged a police complaint against Jillani on April 6.

Jillani is accused of making "audacious remarks against invisible security forces of Pakistan" during an appearance on Dunya TV in 2017. He also is accused of making similar comments in 2019.

The police report into the complaint said Jillani had also tweeted "sarcastic, derogatory, disrespectful, and defamatory language" against Pakistani state institutions.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) last week condemned what it called the "trumped-up charges" against Jillani.

The Paris-based media watchdog said in a statement on April 16 that the case against Jillani has been designed to intimidate and silence Pakistan’s journalists.

It called on the court to dismiss the charges.

Jillani has been charged under a controversial cybercrimes act and two criminal code provisions.

Jillani, who previously worked for the BBC and Deutsche Welle, is known for his critical reporting on Pakistan's powerful army and intelligence services.

Based on reporting by Dawn and Samaa TV

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