21 November 2018
UPDATE: Shahidul Alam released from Dhaka Central Jail on bail.
Photographer and activist Shahidul Alam was released from jail on bail on 20 November 2018, 107 days after he was arrested and charged under section 57 of the Information Communication and Technology Act, which criminalises several forms of artistic expression on electronic platforms.
“While we are pleased Shahidul Alam has been released from jail on bail, the fight is not over,” Freemuse Executive Director Dr Srirak Plipat said.
“Bangladeshi authorities must immediately drop the charges against Alam. His arrest under the notorious ICT Act is a breach of international human rights obligations.”
Alam faces up to 14 years in prison if convicted.
According to the FreeShahidul Facebook page, after his release Alam “was admitted to a private hospital in Dhaka… for a full checkup, doctors advise us that it will take a couple of days”.
The photographer also posted a message thanking everyone who stood by him during “these difficult 107 days”.
“Never thought Dhaka traffic, winter smog, and the incessant honking of horns could be so attractive,” he said.
“Never realised how powerful the combination of a brilliant and tenacious legal team and a wonderful group of passionate, obstinate, creative, and freedom-loving people all over Bangladesh and across the globe could be.
“Never appreciated the meaning of the word ‘Freedom’ to such an extent,” he said.
15 November 2018
UPDATE: Shahidul Alam has been granted bail by the High Court after spending 102 days in custody.
Statement from his legal team—Barrister Sara Hossain and Barrister Jyotirmoy Barua:
“Today the High Court granted bail to Dr. Shahidul Alam after 102 days in custody. For granting him bail, the court notes that he did not make any confessional statement admitting to any of the allegations made against him. The court also noted that the statements that were made in the police record is completely different from and inconsistent with the interview that he gave with Aljazeera. We should point out that throughout this case the state’s lawyers have insisted that Dr. Alam’s statements amounted to hurting the image of the nation and instigating violence; when in fact the state’s lawyer never even put the Aljazeera interview into the police case or on the record. The court also said, two of the other reasons for granting Dr. Alam bail were that he is an elderly person, and an eminent photographer known throughout the world. And, more importantly, the police still has not submitted its investigation report and it is unclear when they are going to do so. He definitely deserves bail. We are very pleased to have got this order after so many days. We very much hope that the government would respect the order of the court and not in any way further what has already been a grotesque miscarriage of justice.”
11 September 2018
Renowned photographer and activist Shahidul Alam has been refused bail on 11 September 2018, reported AFP.
The 63-year-old has been remanded in custody since he was arrested on 5 August and charged with making “provocative comments” under section 57 of the Information Communication and Technology Act (ICT Act), which criminalises several forms of artistic expression on electronic platforms. Alam claims that he was beaten while in police custody.
His lawyers filed a bail application in August, on the grounds that he is ill. Last week the country’s high court refused to consider the request and directed the lower court to deal with it by Tuesday 11 September.
Prosecutor Abdullah Abu told AFP that they opposed Alam’s bail after he incited people during last month’s student protests over road safety, by making comments against the government and the state.
According to United News of Bangladesh, Judge KM Imrul Kayes of Dhaka Metropolitan Session Judge’s Court rejected Alam’s bail application on Tuesday.