Chomsky, Arundhati, others reiterate demand of Shahidul Alam’s release

Staff Correspondent | Published: 17:50, Sep 08,2018 | Updated: 18:13, Sep 08,2018

 
 

Shahidul Alam. — New Age file photo

Five internationally celebrated intellectuals, including American writer and philosopher Noam Chomsky, Indian writer Arundhati Roy, once again urged the government of Bangladesh to urgently release renowned Shahidul Alam and drop all the charges against him.

In a joint statement, Chomsky, Arundhati, American playwright and activist Eve Ensler, Canadian author Naomi Klein and Indian intellectual, historian Vijay Prashad said that people from around the world have written in support of this important photographer, yet the government of Bangladesh is impassive, Drik Picture Library Limited said in a release.

‘This is our second statement. We are heartsick with worry for this talented photographer’ said the statement.

Writer, author and current chair of Pen Internationals Writers in Prison Committee, Salil Tripathi on Friday published the statement issued on September 5 in his tweet.

Shahidul Alam, 63, was detained by plainclothes police from his home hours after giving an interview to Al Jazeera about student protests which he documented and discussed in Facebook Live on August 5.

A Dhaka metropolitan magistrate’s court on August 12 sent Shahidul to prison after he was produced before the court following interrogation in police custody for seven days.

‘Free Shahidul Alam’ says that statement, adding ‘We urge the government of Bangladesh to urgently release Shahidul Alam and drop all the cases against him.’

‘People from around the world have written in support of this important photographer, yet the government of Bangladesh is impassive.

‘He has been charged under Section 57 of the Information and Communication Technology Act for his role in covering the protests by young people in Dhaka for road safety. Others have received bail, but he has not - his bail hearings repeatedly cancelled.

‘The state appears to be framing new malicious charges against him’.

‘In 1971, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the leader of Bangladesh’s freedom movement and father of the current Prime Minister, said - I have given you independence, now go and preserve it’.

‘We urge prime minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed to honour her father’s words. To preserve independence means to preserve the freedom of the press,’ the statement said.

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