Bangladesh: Police investigation underway into alleged ‘suicide’ of female journalist

Bangladesh police are investigating the alleged ‘suicide’ of a female journalist Shabnam Sharmin after a member of her family filed a ‘case’ against her husband. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) demands swift and impartial investigation into the case.

Journalist Shabnam Sharmin. Credit : Bangla Tribune

Bangladesh police recovered Shabnam Sharmin’s body on 27 December from her residence in Hatirjheel area, Dhaka. According to Abdur Rashid, officer-in-charge (OC) at Hatirjheel police station, as soon as police received the information about the case, they reached out to the Shabnam’s residence and recovered her decomposed body at around 5 pm. Police also said that there was no one else in the house during the police’s recovery mission. Sharmin an assignment editor of ‘The Report’ had also worked for ‘Bangladesh Post’. 

The police’s investigation into the case is directed at Shabnam’s husband Saidul Islam following a case- file by Omar Rashid, Shabnam's younger brother, accusing Islam of inciting Shabnam to commit suicide. Saidul Islam, who is also a journalist, has fled since the incident.  

Shabnam Sharmin's family claimed that torture must be the main reason behind the incident. The slain journalist’s sister, Shabnam Parvin, claimed that Saidul put  pressure on her sister for divorce. Bangladesh Manobadhikar Sangbadik Forum (BMSF), a Bangladeshi human rights organisation, is also looking into whether her profession had any link with the incident. 

Shabnam Pravin also said that her sister had limited contact with her family members. Pravin had the last telephone conversation with her sister on 18 December 2022. 

According to Deputy Commissioner of Tejgaon division of Dhaka Metropolitan Police  Azimul Haque, the investigation is ongoing into the case.

Bangladesh Manobadhikar Sangbadik Forum (BMSF) said: “Saidul Islam’s fleeing raised number of questions regarding the case .The BMSF urges serious investigation into the case and immediate arrest of Shabnam Sharmin's husband.”

The IFJ General Secretary, Anthony Bellanger, said : “IFJ is deeply saddened by the suspicious death of journalist Shabnam Sharmin. We urge the authorities to conduct swift investigation into the case and bring the perpetrator to justice."

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

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

Twitter: @ifjasiapacific, on Facebook: IFJAsiaPacific and Instagram