United Kingdom House of Commons member Tulip Siddiq has called on her aunt Bangladesh prime minister Sheikh Hasina to release arrested acclaimed photographer Shahidul Alam.
Tulip Siddiq, the Labour MP for Hampstead and Kilburn, said that the detention of Shahidul Alam by the government was ‘deeply distressing and should end immediately,’ British newspaper The Times reported on Tuesday.
Bangladesh ‘must uphold international standards of justice in treating its own citizens, she said, adding, ‘I would hope our Foreign Office will convey that message in stark terms to a country that is seen as a close ally.’
Tulip is daughter of Hasina’s younger sister Sheikh Rehana.
Shahidul Alam has UK residency and his work has been displayed at Tate Modern, the Whitechapel Gallery, MoMA in New York and the Pompidou in Paris.
Earlier this month, two Bangladeshi-born female Labour Party members of House of Commons of the United Kingdom – Rushanara Ali and Rupa Huq – also expressed concern over the arrest of Shahidul Alam and demanded fair treatment to him.
Shahidul Alam, 63, was detained by plainclothes police from his home after giving an interview to Al Jazeera about student protests which he documented and discussed in Facebook Live.
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.
Tulip Siddiq joined Nobel laureates, global intellectuals, activists, academics and journalists from across the world, who either expressed concerns or demanded Shahidul’s immediate release since his arrest.
Shahidul’s arrest drew wide condemnation from local and international rights groups, professionals and intellectuals, including Nobel laureates Amartya Sen, archbishop Desmond Tutu, Tawakkol Karman, Mairead Maguire, Betty Williams, Oscar Arias, Richard J Roberts, Jose Ramos-Horta, Jody Williams, Shirin Ebadi, Joseph Stiglitz and Muhammad Yunus.
Globally renowned intellectuals Noam Chomsky, Arundhati Roy, Naomi Klein, Vijay Prashad and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak and several hundred nationally and internationally acclaimed citizens and rights activists alongside three UN human right experts also joined the Nobel laureates.
Shahidul is a recipient of multiple awards, including Shilpakala Padak (2014). The Lucie Foundation announced this year that he would be receiving the distinguished Humanitarian Award 2018.
Shahidul is also a human rights activist and the founder of Drik Picture Library Limited and Pathshala South Asian Media Institute which has trained hundreds of photographers.
The Chobi Mela photo festival, which he started in 1999, brings photographers from around the world to Dhaka.