Dhaka, Apr 2 (UNB) – The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has called on Bangladeshi authorities to release detained journalist Mizanur Rahman and probe allegations that he was mistreated in custody.
“Given the disturbing direction that media freedoms have taken in Bangladesh, the arrest of journalist Mizanur Rahman and his alleged ill treatment in custody raise further alarm,” said CPJ Asia Program Coordinator Bob Dietz.
“We call on authorities to drop the charges against Rahman, release him, and conduct a thorough investigation into the allegations that he has been physically abused in custody.”
Mizanur Rahman has been in jail since March 17, according to news reports and Rahman’s coworker.
Local police arrested Rahman, a correspondent for the privately owned Bangla-language daily Prothom Alo, in the southwestern Patuakhali district, according to news reports and Kamal Ahmed, consulting editor at Prothom Alo, who spoke to CPJ.
Rahman was charged with assaulting an officer and obstructing government duties, according to reports and Ahmed. CPJ could not immediately determine what sentence those charges carry.
CPJ representatives visited Dhaka between February 22 and 25 and met journalists from an array of news outlets, including Prothom Alo.
The paper’s editor and publisher, Matiur Rahman (no relation to Mizanur Rahman), provided CPJ with a document that he said listed dozens of cases filed against him and his staff from all over the country in recent years, which range in allegations from defamation to contempt of court. Rahman said he believed the cases were efforts by authorities to intimidate his paper.
According to Prothom Alo, on March 17, Rahman and a police officer engaged in an argument after the officer allegedly used foul language with the journalist. The two resolved the situation and Rahman drove the officer to the police station on his own motorcycle but was arrested when he arrived, Prothom Alo said.
Read the press release by CPJ here