November 16, 2018

Photographer Shahidul Alam to be Released from Bangladeshi Prison

DHAKA, BANGLADESH—Shahidul Alam, photographer and founder of the Drik Library and Pathshala South Asian Media Academy, has been granted bail from the High Court of Bangladesh. Alam has spent 102 days in a Dhaka prison since being arrested in August on suspicion of spreading propaganda and false information in support of student protests against the Bangladeshi government. Al Jazzera reports that Alam’s lawyers expect the photographer and educator to be released from prison Sunday.

Rahnuma Ahmed, Alam’s wife, said his release has “helped restore her faith in the country’s judiciary. I hope journalists, photogrpahers, and academics will launch a united struggle for repealing undemocratic provisions of the Digital Security Act.”

Protests of the governing Awami League began July 29 after two students were killed in a traffic accident and intensified after demonstrators were shot at with rubber bullets and teargas. Alam criticized the government for stoking fear and repression and was subsequently arrested for violating the ICT Act, which allows the government the prosecute dissenters to the “sovereignty, integrity, or security of Bangladesh.” Alam’s case attracted international attention from journalism and arts organizations after video emerged in which Alam showed signs of being beaten. At least twenty-five journalists have been prosecuted under the ICT Act in the last year.

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