Why Shahidul Alam shouldn’t get bail: HC

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PNS Desk: The High Court on Sunday issued a rule asking why photographer Shahidul Alam, arrested in Information and Communication Technology Act (ICT), should not received bail.

Justice AKM Asaduzzaman and Justice SM Mojibur Rahman issued the rule after a hearing of a bail petition for Alam, reports bdnews24.com

The government has been ordered to answer the query within a week.

Lawyer Sara Hossain stood for Shahidul at the hearing, while Attorney General Mahbubey Alam represented the state.

“Shahidul Alam has not received interim bail,” the attorney general told the media afterwards. “It has issued a rule for a response within a week.”

The police arrested Shahidul, founder of the Drik Gallery, Pathshala and the South-Asian Media Institute on Aug 5, over charges of spreading rumours during a campaign for safer roads by students in Dhaka.

Shahidul, who is also the founder of Pathshala South Asian Media Institute, is involved in human-rights work.

He used Facebook to highlight the clashes in the Jigatala amid student protests for road safety on Aug 4-5. He also criticised the government during an interview with Al Jazeera TV.

Police filed a case under the ICT act against Shahidul alleging that he had ‘provoked people and spread false propaganda.’

On Sunday Attorney General Mahbubey Alam told the media:

“Did someone else make the statements he did on Facebook Live and on Al Jazeera? He didn’t issue a written statement. He made it orally and spread it. This has harmed the image of the state and the country.”

Mahbubey Alam said that the statements made on Facebook Live ‘absolutely’ fall under the ICT Act.

“We have opposed his bail on this basis.”

“The main point is that the allegations against Shahidul Alam are completely baseless,” said Sara Hossain. “The police have been unable to prove that they have any basis.”

Shahidul’s statements do not fall under the jurisdiction of the ICT Act, she said.

“Section 57 is on its way to the grave. The information minister, the law minister and other ministers have admitted that it is a bad law. Another law has been passed to end this one and yet they continue to harp on Section 57.”

PNS/Tamanna Khan