Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances on Tuesday condemned the attack on Bangla daily Amar Desh acting editor Mahmudur Rahman by activists of ruling Awami League’s student organisation Bangladesh Chhatra League on Kushtia court premises.
AFAD condemned the attack on the 65-year-old Mahmudur in a statement signed by its chairperson Khurram Parvez and secretary general Mary Aileen Die Bacalso.
Mahmudur came under the attack on Sunday immediately after he came out of the courtroom after a court in Kushtia granted him bail in a case lodged under the Information and Technology Act in December 2017. Kushtia district Chhatra League president Yasir Arafat Tushar lodged the case alleging that Mahmudur, at a seminar in Dhaka in December 2017, made derogatory remarks against prime minister Sheikh Hasina, country’s founding president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and Hasina’s niece Tulip Siddiqui, now a member of British parliament.
The statement said that Mahmudur, seen as a dissenter by AL, was arrested in 2013 on charges of sedition and inciting violence through criticism and was arbitrarily held in pre-trial detention for 1,322 days until his release on bail on November 24, 2016.
‘Mr Rahman was also tortured while in police remand several times. There were over 118 charges against him across the country, mainly on defamation and sedition,’ it alleged.
The rights body called on the Bangladesh government to take action against the assaulters, lift the curbs on freedom of expression, association and assembly in the country and allow democracy to flourish without any restraint.
The statement alleged that the attack was indicative of the escalating intolerance of the Bangladeshi government towards the opposition and dissenters.
‘Such kind of heinous attack on a senior media activist and human rights defender in the court premises in the presence of police proves a dysfunctional justice delivery administration and politicised law enforcement in action,’ it alleged.
The daily Amar Desh was closed down by the Awami League government in 2013, the statement said.
Besides, Committee for the Protection of Fundamental Rights in a statement on Tuesday expressed deep concern, hopelessness and anger for the attack. ‘The incident depicts a sorry state of anarchy and rule of law and dreadful image of failure of state institutions,’ the statement said.
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