Editor Granted Bail After Three Months in Detention

The International Federation of

Journalists (IFJ) welcomes the Bangladesh High Court ruling granting bail to

Mohammad Ekramul Haq, editor of the Sheersha News web portal and the associated

weekly newspaper Sheersha Kagoj, after close to three months in

detention on charges of extortion.

 

In granting bail on October 25, the

court observed that the principal complainant in the case of extortion, a fruit

trader from the capital Dhaka, had furnished

an identity and address which proved false.

 

Haq was arrested at his home in Dhaka on the morning of July

31 on charges of extortion and reportedly dealt with very roughly and led

away blindfolded, two days after the complaint was received. His colleagues

contested the substance of the complaint that had been lodged on the grounds

that the complainant was operating under a fictitious identity and address.

 

Initially remanded for two days on

orders of the Dhaka city magistrate, Haq’s remand was extended by another two

days on August 3, after fresh

charges of extortion were laid against him by the leader of an association

of Bangladesh

government employees.

 

The IFJ and partners in the South

Asian Media Solidarity Network (SAMSN) in Bangladesh had then observed that

the multiple charges brought against Haq suggested a political vendetta.

 

Bail was granted in all later cases

by a lower court.

 

“The IFJ welcomes this decision and

calls on prison authorities to comply without delay with the judicial order to

set Haq free,” IFJ Asia-Pacific

Director Jacqueline Park.

 

“We extend our support to Haq and

his professional colleagues in their continuing efforts to clear his name

through the process of the law.”

 

For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +612 9333 0919

 

The IFJ

represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries

 

Find the

IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific

 

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