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POST TIME: 18 May, 2021 04:09:52 PM
Fakhrul demands Rozina's immediate release
Repression on female journo a shameful, unforgivable crime by govt officials, he says
UNB, Dhaka

Fakhrul demands Rozina's immediate release

Stating that the arrest and harassment of Prothom Alo's Senior Reporter Rozina Islam is an example of the government's obstruction to revealing the truth and corruption, BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Tuesday demanded her immediate release.

In a statement, he also demanded the resignation of Health Minister Zahid Maleque and Health Secretary Abdul Mannan as he thinks Rizina was repressed at their behest.

“The government can’t avoid the responsibility of cruel attitude towards journalists in the Health Ministry. Although the health minister and the secretary knew about the incident, they didn’t take any step to rescue Rozina Islam. Instead, she was handed over to the police,” Fakhrul said.

“This’s not a trivial or isolated incident. This’s just an example of suppression of journalists by the authoritarian ruler and also an example of the government's obstruction to expressing dissenting opinions, uncovering the truth and rampant corruption,” he observed.

The BNP leader said the brave and investigative journalists have been intimidated by the incident so that they can no longer make reports on the government’s ‘corruption, plundering, irregularities and waywardness’. “The government wants to cover up its corruption and misrule by spreading fear and panic.”

He said the country’s people could know about many malpractices and irregularities through many investigative and courageous reports by Rozina. “That's why the government was angry with her and she was kept under its watch.”

As she went to the Health Ministry alone for professional reasons on Monday, the BNP leader said some officials and employees of the ministry unfairly confined her to a room for six hours and tortured her both physically and mentally. “She was arrested later. Such attitude towards a female journalist by the government officials is a shameful and unforgivable crime. We strongly protest and condemn the incident and the arrest of the journalist.”

Fakhrul said the nasty incident has manifested that there is no scope left in Bangladesh for independent journalism and getting information.

He demanded the government release Rozina immediately after withdrawing the false charges brought against her. “Exemplary punishment of those involved in torturing and arresting her must be ensured.”

Fakhrul also demanded an end to the government’s interference in independent journalism and right to information, and repression and suppression of journalists.

Earlier in the day, a Dhaka court sent Rozina, arrested in a case under the Official Secrets Act, to jail after rejecting the podemand of police for her five-day remand.

Rozina was arrested for allegedly attempting to illegally “collect sensitive government documents and taking photos of them” from the Secretariat on Monday.

The Prothom Alo journalist has turned all the allegations. "I was, in fact, harassed at the Secretariat," she claimed immediately after her arrest.

TH