Help Farida, jailed in India due to honest mistake

After an honest mistake, our dear sister, Farida Malik (a US citizen and California resident) was unexpectedly and unnecessarily jailed in India on 12 July 2019. Despite many efforts to have her released, she's been stuck there for now nearly 5 months. She's being held in poor health in a remote jail built in the 1800s, high in the mountains, near the India-Nepal border in Uttarakhand state.  She’s been separated from her belongings and not allowed to speak on the phone with family or friends.

She was traveling by bus from Kathmandu, Nepal to Delhi, India to meet friends and mistakenly thought that she could get a visa at the border. Unfortunately, she had also forgotten her valid US passport in her hotel in Nepal. Although she could've been turned away at the border and told to remain in Nepal, instead Indian border check guards arrested and imprisoned her in India. She's been there ever since (although she was reunited with her valid US passport back in August), now for nearly 5 months.  Her friends and family are very concerned for her life, safety and well-being. She has not been allowed to speak with them.

Local attorneys have been hired in India since August; and the US Embassy in Delhi, the US Ambassador to India, and the US State Department in Washington, DC have all been involved.  The Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has been continuously lobbied and is well aware of the case too. And it has all been woefully inadequate as no one yet has been able to secure her release. Farida made an honest mistake and the punishment, it seems to us, far exceeds her inadvertent offense.

Farida loves everything about India, especially its culture, music, movies, and food. A few years ago, she earned a certificate from Asian Academy of Film & Television (AAFT) acting school in Noida, India and has friends there. She was on her way to meet them when things went horribly wrong.  Farida believes in the power of music to bridge cultural divides.  Despite her horrible ordeal, her lawyers say she is doing her best to remain positive.

For nearly 5 months now, she has been awaiting a court date that will render a decision on her case, but this date keeps slipping (an unfortunate yet common occurrence in Indian courts). Meanwhile she's languishing in poor health in a cold jail, without heat, now with the Himalayan winter having arrived. She has an injured back (herniated discs)  and overall not in great health due to her incarceration. She does not have regular access to her medications or adequate medical treatment.

Our ask: US and Indian authorities, take action, have her released and deported back home to USA immediately.  She has suffered enough.

This fundraiser has been set up to cover significant legal, advocacy, repatriation, and PTSD treatment costs to help Farida return safely home to USA and recover from her ordeal.  Please consider donating; it will be a big help.  Thank you!

Farida's family and friends

Please add your comments below and forward this fundraiser to your networks to help our cause.

Also please sign Farida's petition on here.

Press coverage: Washington Post  and San Jose Mercury News  articles.

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Nauman Malik 
Palo Alto, CA
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