Bangladesh: Journalist from Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha assaulted and tortured

Jahangir Alam Shahin, a district correspondent of Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha was assaulted and tortured by members of the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) in Kulaghat, Lalmonirhat district, while trying to get information regarding incidents of drug smuggling in the area. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) demands a thorough investigation into the assault.

Journalist Jahangir Alam Shahin and his friend Sohag Islam were attacked by BGB men with sticks on April 15. They sustained injuries to their eyes, necks and bodies when they arrived in the Kulaghat area to report on drug smuggling.

Shahin and Islam were stopped by a BGB patrol team while travelling in Kulaghat.  During their conversation, the journalist asked about the drug trafficking situation in the area, angering BGB Kulaghat special camp commander, Habildar Anwar Hossain. A team of BGB officers then attacked Shahin and Islam. Afterwards, they tied the journalists’ hands and waists with a rope and took them to Lalmonirhat Sadar Police Station.

The BGB claimed that the journalist was arrested due to his possession of a bottle of Phensedyl, an illegal drug, and that he was injured trying to flee the scene. The BGB later  filed a case against Shahin for allegedly carrying the illegal drug.

The case was taken to court where Shahin was granted bail in a virtual hearing.

The case is one of many where Bangladesh journalists are intentionally tortured and punished on false accusations; where laws are commonly misused, including the Digital Security Act.

The BMSF said: “The BMSF are currently investigating the incident. We strongly protest against the arrest, torture and handcuffing of BSS journalist, Jahangir Alam Shahin.”

The IFJ said: “With false accusations and misuse of the law to punish journalists becoming a trend in Bangladesh, the IFJ demands a thorough and fair investigation into this case. The government needs to punish those responsible for the attack on Shahin and Islam and must stop such abuses of power immediately.”

For further information contact IFJ Asia - Pacific on ifj@ifj-asia.org

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries

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