Mercury man moved to new jail

Mercury: pressure on Government

Sunday Mercury investigative reporter Amardeep Bassey was moved on Wednesday to a lower security jail in Pakistan.

He was awaiting the decision of the interior minister for the North West Frontier on whether he would be charged with spying.

The 29-year-old reporter had been held in jail and at an interrogation centre for 13 days after he was arrested on a passport infringement as he crossed from Afghanistan to Pakistan.

With the threat of war breaking out between India and Pakistan, the situation for Bassey, born and bred in England but from an Indian family, had looked increasingly grave.

Since his arrest the Mercury and parent company Trinity Mirror have been putting pressure on the Government, the Prime Minister, Pakistani President Musharraf and every organisation it believes can help secure his release on what it considers an abuse of freedom of the press.

At the weekend Trinity Mirror sent out its regional editorial director Neil Benson and its legal manager Charles Collier Wright to Pakistan to get legal representation for Bassey.

He was moved from the Joint Interrogation Centre in Peshawar on Wednesday to another prison while a judge decided his fate.

At home, the Mercury has been keeping up a campaign to get him freed, organising support from MPs, MEPs, European Commissioner Chris Patten and journalist organisations. The paper has also pressed for British High Commission officials to be granted access to him. He saw no one from the Commission until Monday.

In last Sunday’s Mercury, readers were given pages of coverage of Bassey, who was born in Wolver-hampton and has become a local hero.

 

By Jean Morgan

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