After an honest mistake, our dear sister, Farida Malik (a US citizen and California resident) was unnecessarily arrested in India and put in jail on 12 July 2019. Despite many efforts to have her released, she's been stuck there for over 120 days. 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. Read her story published by the Washington Post here
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followed shortly thereafter in the SJ Mercury News.
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 US passport back in August), now for over 120 days.
Her family is very concerned for her life, safety and well-being. She has not been allowed to speak with family. Local attorneys have been hired in Uttarakhand; 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) is well aware of the case too. But no one yet has been able to secure her release. Farida made an honest mistake and has been paying for it for now over 120 days in jail.
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. Even from jail, she sent a note that says, "India is my heart!". Farida believes in the power of music to bridge cultural divides. Despite her horrible ordeal, she is doing her best to remain positive.
For the past 3 months, 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 jail (the arduous journeys from jail to court and back, 12-hour round trips by bus have taken a toll on her health too). She has an injured back (herniated discs) and overall not in great health due to her incarceration. She has not had regular access to her medications.Our ask: Indian and US authorities, take action, have her released and deport her back home to USA immediately. She has suffered enough.
As you might imagine, this ordeal and subsequent efforts have not been cheap, and funds are considerably stretched. Money raised here will cover significant legal, advocacy, repatriation, and PTSD treatment costs to help Farida return safely home to USA and recover from her ordeal. Whatever you can contribute will be much appreciated! Thank you.Determined,Farida's family and friends
Please add your comments below and forward this fundraiser to your networks to help our cause.
Please forward this fundraiser to your elected representatives (especially in US and India; but elsewhere too).Also please sign Farida's petition on Change.org here.