Stop repression on students, journos, HR workers: Statement

Stop repression on students, journos, HR workers: Statement

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Dhaka, Aug 9 – A total of 69 leading academics, lawyers, rights activists, filmmakers, media personalities and cultural activists of Bangladesh in a joint statement have demanded the government to stop repression on students, academics, journalists and human rights activists immediately. They also demanded the release all who have been arbitrarily detained and take every step to ensure road safety, freedom of speech, freedom of movement and freedom of association for all, without discrimination.
“We demand that the Government investigate allegations of unlawful arrest and torture and immediately and unconditionally facilitate noted photographer Shahidul Alam’s release and punish those responsible for his alleged abduction and torture,’ said the statement issued yesterday.
If anything he has done is considered against the law charges could be brought in the due process, but nothing justifies unlawful abduction, arbitrary remand and especially unconstitutional torture in custody, the statement added.
We the undersigned strongly condemn such repression by the government, including arbitrary police remand under the repressive ICT Act against him.
The civil society people strongly condemn such repression by the government, including arbitrary police remand under the repressive ICT Act against him.
They issued the statement following the recent students’ agitation for safe roads, attacks on students and journalists and the arrest of Shahidul Alam
The signatories in the statement include former adviser to the caretaker government M Hafizuddin Khan, physician Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury, lawyer Barrister Raja Devashish Roy, executive director of TIB Dr Iftekhar Zaman, secretary of Shujon Dr. Badiul Alam Majumdar, journalist Mahfuz Ullah, DU teachers Dr. Amena Mohsin and Dr Chowdhury Abrar, economist Dr Anu Muhammad, coordinator of Nijera Kori Khushi Kabir, DU teacher Dr Asif Nazrul, lawyer Syeda Rizwana Hasan, human rights activists Sheepa Hafiza, Adilur Rahman Khan and Shaheen Anam.
Referring to students’ movement demanding safe roads and rule of law and justice, they said it has been reported that in the presence of the police, members of the student and youth wings of the ruling Awami League, the Bangladesh Chattra League and Jubo League, have been attacking unarmed young protesters, as well as journalists and photographers.
“It is also reported that several hundred protesters are being arbitrarily detained and subjected to police remand, including a pregnant woman. Freedoms of expression association and assembly are being unlawfully and arbitrarily suppressed,” said the statement.
The statement claimed that internationally and nationally renowned photographer, academic and human rights activist, Shahidul Alam, was unlawfully abducted from his home, allegedly by law enforcement personnel, and without an arrest warrant.
As he was being carried into the courtroom, he is reported to have said to journalists present, “I was hit. They washed my blood-stained clothes and then made me wear them again”. He is also reported to have said: ‘I was not given access to any lawyer during detention’ His alleged crime was taking photographs of the brutal attacks on peacefully protesting students and exercising his freedom of opinion in an interview to an international television channel, mentioned the statement.
It has been further reported widely in the media that numerous innocent students are being subjected to torture in police custody and remand as well as various forms of harassment and intimidation whereas those allegedly responsible for imposing violence upon a non-political and peaceful movement of the young students are enjoying impunity, the statement added.
The statement signatories also include human rights defender Dr Hameeda Hossain, architect Bashirul Haq, executive director of Centre for Peace and Justice, BRAC University Barrister Manzoor Hasan, artistic director of Shadhona Lubna Marium, paediatrician Prof Dr Naila Z. Khan, DU teachers Robaet Ferdous and Dr Shahnaz Huda, teacher of Illinois State University Dr Ali Riaz, Prof Dr Perween Hasan, Dr Firdous Azim, Dr Elora Halim Chowdhury, Md. Nur Khan, Dr. Sumaiya Khair, Rina Roy, Dr. Shapan Adnan, Dr Azfar Hussain, ASM Nasiruddin Elan, Arup Rahee, Hana Shams Ahmed, Leesa Gazi, Ashraf Kaiser, Anusheh Anadil, Delwar Hussain, Ilira Dewan, Dina Siddiqi, Tarek Omar Chowdhury, Mirza Taslima Sultana, Nasrin Siraj Annie, Syed Sultan Uddin Ahmed, Dr Tasnim Azim, Dr M Muzaherul Huq, Cynthia Farid, Tasaffy Hossain, MasudKhan, Muktasree Chakma, Tasmiah Afrin Mou and Dr Elora Shehabuddin.

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