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Bangladesh: release journalist blogger Tasneem Khalil

Categories: South Asia, Bangladesh, Breaking News, Freedom of Speech, Governance, Human Rights, Law, Media & Journalism, Protest, Blogger Profiles

Tasneem KhalilBangladeshi blogger and journalist Tasneem Khalil has been arrested by the joint forces tonight (10th of May, 2007 about midnight). One of his colleagues (also a renowned blogger) broke the news requesting anonymity. They are afraid to speak out. His whereabouts are currently unknown.

Tasneem Khalil (26) is an editorial assistant of the Daily Star , a popular news daily in Bangladesh. He is also the representative of CNN and Human Rights Watch in Bangladesh. His recent articles concentrated on the extra judicial killings in Bangladesh by the joint forces and other human rights issues. After the declaration of the state of emergency in January 11, it is apparent that army is behind the Care taker (interim) Government in Bangladesh. There is an emergency act in place in the country curtailing civil rights which gives power to the authority to arrest any person without conviction. He was called in for questioning by military intelligence last week.

Human Rights Watch has later released a statement [1] demanding immediate release of Tasneem Khalil.

Blogger Mash of Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying says [2]:

Apparently Mr. Khalil’s crime is that he did his job. He spoke truthfully about the current situation in Bangladesh. He was interviewed [2] by Nora Boustany of the Washington Post last month – that interview may have cost him his freedom and now possibly his life.

Unheard Voices: Drishtipat group Blog urges [3]:

Please show your outrage against this outrageous attempt to curb freedom of speech. THIS SIMPLY HAS TO STOP!!

This blog also discusses [4] the possible reasons why Tasneem was arrested. And this blog also posts [4]a censored article of Tasneem which was never published. Some striking words in that article:

Tarique Rahman (ex Prime Minister Khaleda Zia's son) was one of the key sponsors of right-wing militancy in Bangladesh is one of the most under-reported stories of the past five years. While we see stories on how he and his cronies used public money and offices to fatten their wallets there seems to be a conspiracy of silence as to his role as the Amir of jihad in Bangladesh. That the story of militancy in Bangladesh is not complete without the details of Tarique’s involvement is a fact we must come to terms with before it is too late — and it is towards the Dhaka Central Jail that we must look for the answers that only the Prince of Bogra can provide.

Zafa of Keep me honest says [5]:

The government has just gone too far!!

Salam Dhaka reports [6] that the Washington post will run a story tomorrow on this.

Serious Golmal is apprehensive [7] of the situation:

The detainment of journalists and the muzzling of the media is now seen as a prelude to yet more quashing of civil rights and impunity in more, so-called, extra judicial killings of the “previously powerful”.

Sushanta of My Dear Bangladesh compiles [8] many of the Bangladeshi bloggers reactions.

Let us all join hands in demanding the release of Tasneem Khalil.

Update: At about 11 PM Bangladesh time on the 11th of May Tasneem Khalil was released by the joint forces 22 hours after being picked up. (More here [9])