Solidarity with pro-democracy activists #India #Bangladesh #SouthAsia #FreeShahidul

“…In a coordinated operation… several well known academics, lawyers, writers, poets, priests and journalists have been arrested and their homes raided by the police”… 
(Note, 31 August 2018: added video below)
India arrests-threat

This extract from a statement titled ‘Fascism at our doorstep‘ by Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression (WSS) against the ongoing raids in India against democracy and rights activists applies elsewhere too. So do the words of Prof. Badri Raina in Delhi who writes in The Wire, “the grave fault of the human rights activists who have just been arrested is that they share knowledge of the provisions of the constitution of India with Indian citizens who, despite seven decades of practicing democracy, have remained disenfranchised from the promises of constitutional democracy”.

Below, an update from friends of Shahidul Alam, the detained photojournalist languishing in prison in Dhaka about whom I’ve written before. He is still denied the legal procedures and rights that he has fought for all his life. This is not a time to be silent.

Condensed from an email received today, that starts with thanks for the solidarity and support for the #freeshahidul campaign:

PrintPhotographer Shahidul Alam remains incarcerated. On August 12, two days before the end of his remand, without informing his family and legal counsel, they transferred him to a Dhaka prison. In the transfer order, the Detective Branch Investigation Officer accused him of giving “false and harmful information through al-Jazeera, various electronic media, and facebook timeline which led to deterioration of the law and order situation in the country, and created fear and terror in the minds of the public.” The transfer order quotes him at length but does not quote him verbatim; includes grossly distorted allegations.

On August 14, Shahidul’s friends filed a bail petition, but the court set the hearing of bail petition on September 11, meaning he will be in prison for at least a month. Another petition filed to advance the bail hearing date is not likely to be accepted. In an ideal situation, obtaining bail is a long-winded process in Bangladesh. One can only imagine what the process may look like in a legal mala fide.

For regular updates see Facebook page, FreeShahidul.

Shahidul has spoken truth to power and his friends, colleagues, comrades across the world have stood by him, condemned the abduction style arrest. Those in power are definitely jolted by the response, but are continuing with all kinds of judicial harassment.

His family and colleagues have visited him in prison. “He is concerned about the ongoing arbitrary arrest of student protesters and asked us to keep up the good fight”.

One Response

  1. Vara Vara Rao and pro-democracy? You’ve gotta be kidding me!

    I have no comments regarding the others but Beena you lower your own credibility several notches when you call VVR “pro-democracy.


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