Dhaka metropolitan sessions judge court on Tuesday rejected the bail petition of acclaimed photographer Shahidul Alam in a case filed allegedly for spreading rumour in social media and anti-government propaganda.
Judge KM Imrul Kayes of Dhaka Metropolitan Sessions Judge Court of Dhaka rejected his bail petition after a hearing on the petition.
Barrister Sara Hosain, who moved the bail petition, submitted to the court that police could not produce any information about the video link which police claimed Shahidul had used from his Facebook account and his laptop.
Besides, she argued, Shahidul was an acclaimed person and different noted personalities across the world, even Bangabandhu’s granddaughter Tulip Siddiq, had given statement demanding his immediate release.
Sara submitted that there
should not be any problem if Shahidul was granted bail because the evidence — his mobile phone and laptop — that was shown against him was already seized by police.
If granted bail, she argued, his client would neither influence the investigation nor the plaintiff and that he would not go in hiding.
Public prosecutor Abdullah Abu submitted that the accused had said in the video clipping that the government was an unelected one and a caretaker government was needed for free and fair elections.
He argued that Shahidul’s remark was tantamount to ‘sedition’.
The PP sought cancellation of Shaidul’s bail plea for the sake of proper investigation.
Shahidul Alam, 63, was detained by plainclothes police from his home after he gave an interview to Al Jazeera about student protests which he documented and discussed in Facebook Live on August 5.
He was produced before the court the following day where Shahidul said he was tortured in custody — a claim police denied.
A Dhaka court on August 12 sent Shahidul to prison after he was produced before the court following interrogation in police custody for seven days.
On September 4, a High Court bench declined to hear his bail petition as a judge felt embarrassed.
On Monday, another High Court bench directed the lower court to dispose of Shahidul’s bail petition by Tuesday.
Shahidul’s detention was globally condemned as a crackdown on free speech in Bangladesh.