The movement demanding the release of acclaimed photographer Shahidul Alam continued for two months after his arrest in Dhaka as his well-wishers held a rally on Tuesday in front of the Bangladesh High Commission in Colombo.
Mountaineer and activist Wasfia Nazreen, who is a National Geographic Emerging Explorer and Adventurer of the Year, meanwhile, arranged an airplane carrying a banner message ‘Free Shahidul Alam’ circled the sky of Manhattan, New York City, in the US, for one-and-half hours as the sun set.
The banner proclaimed ‘free our teachers’ referring to Shahidul’s role as a teacher, mentor, and guide to the youth.
The hashtags UNGA and Bangladesh were also written on the banner, Wasfia said in a statement published on social media.
‘Dr Alam is an inspiration for Bangladesh and beyond. He should be celebrated amongst Bangladeshis for the treasure and pride that he is. We, the youth of Bangladesh who comprises almost 70% of the nation, urge the Government of Bangladesh to immediately and unconditionally release him and all our teachers. I hope our respected leaders will pay heed to our message.’
As the plane circled around the iconic Statue of Liberty, a packed crowd cheered from below. This protest follows a weekend of demonstrations and talks held at the city calling for greater press freedom in Bangladesh—particularly addressing the case of Shahidul.
Meanwhile, Drik, a multimedia organisation founded by Shahidul, in a statement said Sri Lankan citizen journalists on Tuesday held a protest event condemning the arrest of Shahidul Alam in front of Bangladesh High Commission in Colombo.
During the protest, the protestors handed over a petition to Alimuzzaman, counselor at Bangladesh High Commission in Colombo, demanding his immediate and unconditional release.
‘Global protests on Shahidul’s incarceration continue unabated and have included statements made by 12 Nobel Laureates, many eminent citizens and journalists across the globe. We add our voices to theirs. Dr. Alam has worked tirelessly for decades to promote the welfare of Bangladeshi citizens through his photography and journalism, and to bring national and international attention to their resilience in the face of adversity and oppression,’ the statement read.
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