• Statement from the Bangladeshi Civil Society

    Statement from the Bangladeshi Civil Society

    August 9, 2018

    Image Courtesy: Their World

    24 Sraban 1425/8 August 2018

    Over the past week or so school children and university students in Bangladesh have been demanding road safety, rule of law and justice. It has been reported that in the presence of the police, members of the student and youth wings of the ruling Awami League, the Bangladesh Chattra League and Jubo League, have been attacking unarmed young protesters, as well as journalists and photographers. It is also reported that several hundred protesters are being arbitrarily detained and subjected to police remand, including a pregnant woman. Freedoms of expression association and assembly are being unlawfully and arbitrarily suppressed.

    In the late evening of Sunday 5 August 2018, internationally and nationally renowned photographer, academic and human rights activist, Shahidul Alam, was unlawfully abducted from his home, allegedly by law enforcement personnel, and without an arrest warrant. Yesterday, he was produced before the Dhaka Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate’s Court, where the Detective Branch of Police submitted a prayer for ten days’ remand. The Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Asaduzzaman Noor, has granted seven days’ remand in a case filed against him under Section 57 of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Act 2006 (amended in 2009 & 2013). As he was being carried into the court room, he is reported to have said to journalists present, "I was hit. They washed my blood-stained clothes and then made me wear them again". He is also reported to have said: ‘I was not given access to any lawyer during detention’  His alleged crime was taking photographs of the brutal attacks on peacefully protesting students and exercising his freedom of opinion in an interview to an international television channel. 

    It has been further reported widely in the media that numerous innocent students are being subjected to torture in police custody and remand as well as various forms of harassment and intimidation whereas those allegedly responsible for imposing violence upon a non-political and peaceful movement of the young students are enjoying impunity.

    We the undersigned strongly condemn such repression by the government, including arbitrary police remand under the repressive ICT Act against him.  We demand that the Government investigate allegations of unlawful arrest and torture and immediately and unconditionally facilitate Shahidul Alam’s release and punish those responsible for his alleged abduction and torture. If anything he has done is considered against the law charges could be brought in the due process, but nothing justifies unlawful abduction, arbitrary remand and especially unconstitutional torture in custody. We also demand that the government stop repression of students, academics, journalists and human rights activists immediately, release all who have been arbitrarily detained and take every step to ensure road safety, freedom of speech, freedom of movement and freedom of association for all, without discrimination.


    1.  Dr Hameeda Hossain, Human Rights Defender
    2. Bashirul Haq, Architect
    3. Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury, Physician and Health Rights Activist
    4. Shaheen Anam , Human Rights Defender
    5. Barrister Raja Devashish Roy
    6. Dr Iftekhar Zaman, Executive Director, Transparency International Bangladesh
    7. Dr. Badiul Alam Majumdar, Secretary, SHUJON
    8. M Hafizuddin Khan, Chairperson, SHUJON
    9. Mahfuz Ullah, Media Professional, writer, researcher & environmentalist
    10. Barrister Manzoor Hasan OBE, Executive Director, Centre for Peace and Justice, BRAC University
    11. Dr Chowdhury Abrar, Professor, Department of International Relations, University of Dhaka
    12. Lubna Marium, Artistic Director, Shadhona
    13. Professor Dr Naila Z. Khan, Paediatrician
    14. Robaet Ferdous, Academic, University of Dhaka
    15. Dr. Shahnaz Huda, Professor of Law, University of Dhaka
    16. Dr. Ali Riaz, Professor of Political Science, Illinois State University, USA
    17. Dr. Amena Mohsin, Professor, Department of International Relations, University of Dhaka
    18. Dr Anu Muhammad, Professor,  Department of Economics, Jahangirnagar University,
    19. Khushi Kabir, Coordinator, Nijera Kori
    20. Professor Dr Perween Hasan, Vice-Chancellor, Central Women’s University
    21. Dr Firdous Azim, Professor, Department of English, BRAC University
    22. Farida Akhter, Executive Director, UBINIG (Policy Research for Development Alternative)
    23. Dr Elora Halim Chowdhury, Professor & Chair, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department, University of Massachusetts, USA
    24. Sheepa Hafiza, Human Rights Defender, Ain O Shalish Kendra
    25. Md. Nur Khan, Human Rights Activist
    26. Adilur Rahman Khan, Advocate, Supreme Court of Bangladesh
    27. Dr Asif Nazrul, Professor, Department of Law, University of Dhaka
    28. Syeda Rizwana Hasan, Advocate, Supreme Court of Bangladesh
    29. Dr. Sumaiya Khair, Professor, Department of Law, University of Dhaka
    30. Rina Roy, Rights Activist
    31. Dr. Shapan Adnan, Economist
    32. Dr Azfar Hussain, Associate Professor, Liberal Studies/Interdisciplinary Studies, Grand Valley State University, Michigan, USA
    33. ASM Nasiruddin Elan, Human Rights Defender
    34. Arup Rahee, Singer, Lyricist and Cultural Activist
    35. Hana Shams Ahmed, PhD Student, York University, Canada
    36. Leesa Gazi, Cultural Activist and Theatre Practitioner
    37. Ashraf Kaiser, Journalist
    38. Anusheh Anadil, Musician and Cultural Activist
    39. Delwar Hussain, Researcher, UK
    40. Ilira Dewan, Indigenous People’s Rights Activist
    41. Maheen Sultan, Women’s Rights Activist
    42. Dina Siddiqi, Academic
    43. Tarek Omar Chowdhury, Writer
    44. Mirza Taslima Sultana, Academic
    45. Zakir Hossain, Coordinator, Nagorik Uddyog
    46. Ziaur Rahman, Lawyer
    47. Nasrin Siraj Annie, PhD Student and Filmmaker
    48. Syed Sultan Uddin Ahmed, Bangladesh Institute of Labour Studies
    49. Dr Tasnim Azim, Immunologist and Health Rights Activist
    50. Dr M Muzaherul Huq, Professor of Forensic Medicine
    51. Dr Seuty Sabur, Academic, BRAC University
    52. Wasfia Nazreen, Mountaineer
    53. Lamiya Morshed, Social Activist
    54. Dina Hossain, Filmmaker
    55. Cynthia Farid, Advocate, Supreme Court
    56. Tasaffy Hossain, Rights Activist
    57. MasudKhan, Lawyer, The Legal Circle
    58. Muktasree Chakma, Women’s Rights Activist
    59. Tasmiah Afrin Mou, Filmmaker
    60. Dr Elora Shehabuddin, Associate Professor of Humanities and Political Science, Rice University, Texas, USA
    61. Rashad Al, Resident Senior Fellow Institute for Strategic Dialogue, UK
    62. Enamul Hoque, Photographer / Filmmaker / Artist, UK 
    63. Shahadat Hossain, Filmmaker 
    64.  Khandaker Sumon, Filmmaker 
    65. Sohini Alam, Musician
    66. Manjida Ahamed, PhD Student, Middlesex University, London
    67. Ali Ahmed Ziauddin, Freedom Fighter and Writer
    68. Rezaur Rahman Lenin, Human Rights Defender
    69. Shireen P Huq, Women’s Rights Activist

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