The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is appalled to learn of the continued legal harrassment and victimisation of Mohammad Ekramul Haq, editor of web portal Sheersha News and the associated newspaper, Sheersha Kagoj in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Haq was rearrested at the gates of a Dhaka prison on November 1, at the moment of his release on bail from three months in detention. On October 25, he was granted bail by the High Court in Dhaka, which observed that the complainant in the first case registered against him had furnished an identity and address which proved false. Prior to this, a lower court had granted him bail in all cases filed in the days after his first arrest.
A fresh case of extortion has now been filed against Haq on the basis of a complaint from an official of the income tax department in Dhaka.
“The IFJ is shocked at this victimisation of a journalist, on what appear to be political grounds,” IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.
The fresh case filed against Haq and his arrest without an investigation, raises disturbing parallels to his first arrest on July 31 on extortion charges and his subsequent remand, when several more cases on identical grounds were filed against him with obvious intent to prolong his detention.
“We call for a coherent explanation of this sequence of vengeful actions against Haq and failing that, his full discharge and immediate release,” Park said.
The IFJ is joined by partners in the South Asia Media Solidarity Network (SAMSN) in demanding an explanation from Bangladesh’s authorities on two recent cases of attacks and harassment of journalists.
SAMSN partners report that on the night of November 3, Shahiduzzaman of BanglaNews, Abdul Aziz Shishir of NTV and Monir Hossain Sazid of Independent Television, all based in Shariatpur district, were attacked by cadre of the Awami League, the ruling party in Bangladesh. The attack came after a local leader was reported to have illegally been felling trees for commercial purposes.
In another incident on November 3, police detained Nuruzzaman, a correspondent of the Bengali daily Manabzamin, from near his home in Adabar area in Dhaka city. Police reportedly threatened to implicate him in a mugging case, but then released him after a number of his colleagues intervened.
For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919
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