Release Shahidul Alam now!
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To Bangladeshi authorities holding Shahidul Alam in custody:
We, colleagues, friends and supporters of Shahidul Alam, write to insist that Bangladeshi authorities immediately release Shahidul and drop the charges of “provocative comments” leveled against him. Alam is a respected journalist, citizen, and photographer who has worked tirelessly for decades to enlighten others through his journalistic work and mentorship of students to provide valuable visual perspectives of Southeast Asia. Alam has done a great service to Bangladesh, its citizens and the world.
It should not be a crime to be a journalist. It should not be a crime to speak your opinions peaceably. By silencing the journalists of your country, you continue a dangerous trend that threatens the lives of thousands who seek merely to inform and serve the people of our world. We implore you, do not attack this person whose life’s work provides a vital function in society. We ask this not only for the sake of the individual but also for the sake of freedom and the rights of all people to have access to information that affects their lives. That is the work of every journalist. That has been Shahidul’s work for his country, his people, for all of us.
Release Mr. Alam. Dismiss the charges against him. Provide journalists safe passage in Bangladesh — without fear of arrest, interference or harm at the hands of the government or other groups — to document and report on the important issues affecting the people of Bangladesh. The story of Bangladesh’ mistreatment, detention and physical harm of dozens of journalists has gone viral and drawn outrage internationally. In your hands is a powerful opportunity to reverse the course of a global trend and set a precedent for the civil and just treatment of journalists. You can show the world that Bangladesh upholds the principles of freedom and justice.
Tara Pixley / Authority Collective
Peter DiCampo & Austin Merrill / The Everyday Projects
Daniella Zalcman / Women Photograph
Laura Beltrán Villamizar / Native
Brent Lewis / Diversify.Photo
Ricky Simms / Majority World
Shahidul has been charged under Section 57 of Bangladesh’s Information and Communication Technology Act, which could result in a sentence of up to 14 years in prison. Again, this is just for giving an interview to Al Jazeera and speaking his mind.
Please read the Amnesty International report attached, and write immediately in English or Bangla or in your own language urging the authorities to:
Immediately and unconditionally release Shahidul Alam, who is a prisoner of conscience, and drop all charges as he has been detained solely for peacefully exercising his human right to freedom of expression;
Ensure that activists, human rights defenders, journalists, academics and members of the political opposition and other members of the public are able to peacefully exercise their rights to freedom of expression, freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of association.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 18 SEPTEMBER 2018 TO:
Minister of Home Affairs
Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal
Salutation: Honourable Home Minister
Inspector General of Police
Mohammad Javed Patwary
Salutation: Dear Inspector General
And copies to: Political Affairs Advisor to Bangladesh
Prime Minister H.T. Imam
Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.
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