Editor's note: Shahidul Alam, a noted photographer from Bangladesh, was on Thursday granted bail by a high court. This article is being republished in this context.
Noted photographer from Bangladesh, Shahidul Alam was on Thursday granted bail by a high court after having spent more than a hundred days behind bars.
The order was passed by a bench of Justice Sheikh Abdul Awal and Justice Bhishma Devi Chakraborty
Alam had been arrested by the Bangladesh Police on 5 August, hours after his interview with Al Jazeera regarding students protests happening in the country. Alam had also been sharing photos of the protests on his Facebook profile and discussing them through Facebook Live.
At least 20 plainclothes officers had picked up Shahidul Alam, 63, from his Dhaka home, his colleague Abir Abdullah told AFP.
Alam had shot images of the demonstrations by students in Dhaka and other places, and discussed the protests on videos which he shared on Facebook.
At around midnight of 5 August, a Facebook page belonging to Drik Gallery (of which Alam is the founder) uploaded a post alleging that Alam was 'abducted' from his home in Dhaka on Sunday night, allegedly by officials from the city police’s Detective Branch, for posts supporting the ongoing student protests. Drik's statement stated,"According to security guards of the apartment building and other eyewitness reports, there were roughly 30 to 35 men, in plain clothes, who claimed to be from the Detective Branch (DB), who went upstairs, brought down Dr Alam who was screaming as he was forcibly pushed into the waiting car, a HiAce, with the words Popular Life Insurance, written on the outside."
"They taped up the CCTV camera, and took away the CCTV camera footage. The guards were manhandled and locked up. His partner Rahnuma Ahmed, was in a neigbouring flat, raced downstairs on hearing the scream, but the car carrying him and two other cars waiting outside, sped away," the statement further mentions.
Shahidul Alam, @shahidul the well known Bangladeshi photographer, was abducted from his Dhaka house last night by the Detective Branch of police. Is it because the truth he said on tv? Listen to him (from 2.40 min.). https://t.co/leuk2nveIo
— taslima nasreen (@taslimanasreen) August 6, 2018
Shahid Ul Alam, a photojournalist from Bangladesh, has been abducted from his home. The Bangladeshi government should help us find and release him swiftly. @hrw @amnesty https://t.co/usszUnn7lq — Ammara Ahmad (@ammarawrites) August 6, 2018
— Agnes Callamard (@AgnesCallamard) August 6, 2018
Deeply concerned: Bangladeshi photojournalist & human rights activist @shahidul has been detained last night "for interrogation over his @Facebook posts on ongoing student protests". We his friends & admirers demand his safety & due process #ShahidulAlam https://t.co/L0cJnQSTQm — Nalaka Gunawardene (@NalakaG) August 6, 2018
Amnesty released a statement demanding that the Bangladeshi authorities should unconditionally and immediately release Alam. One of the paragraphs in statement mentions, "Shahidul Alam, the photographer who was detained by the Detective Branch of the Bangladesh police, has not thus far been charged with any offence.
Journalists covering the massive student protests being staged in Bangladesh had reportedly come under attack by members of the ruling party's student wing. A senior journalist from a leading newspaper in Bangladesh told Firstpost that journalists had been asked to not communicate with any foreign publications regarding the protests, as random arrests are taking place.
Thousands of students from schools and colleges had taken to the streets and demanded action from the authorities for road safety across the country. The protests took a violent turn as students were dispersed after repeated attacks launched by law-enforcement agencies and Bangladesh Chhatra League, the ruling party's student wing for the past few days.
Firstpost reported earlier that several journalists including an Associated Press photojournalist were attacked and injured while covering the students' protest, on Sunday in Dhaka. They were reportedly assaulted by the armed Chhatra League men in the Science Laboratory area. The incident took place at around 2 pm when a number of journalists and photojournalists were covering the protest in front of Dhaka City College, eyewitnesses and local businessmen said. Local media also reported that another group of journalists was attacked on Dhanmondi Road 2 as well.
With inputs from agencies
Updated Date: Nov 15, 2018 16:02 PM