The High Court in Bangladesh halted the seven-day remand of Dhaka-based photographer and activist Shahidul Alam on Tuesday.
The Dhaka Police had detained Alam on Sunday night for posts supporting the ongoing student protests in the city. A court sent him on seven-day remand after he was charged under the Information and Communication Technology Act. Reports said he had been assaulted by authorities and was unable to walk by himself in court.
On Tuesday, the High Court bench ordered the authorities to immediately transfer Alam to a hospital, the Dhaka Tribune reported. The court also asked the authorities to submit a medical report on Alam’s condition by Thursday. The court was hearing a petition filed by Alam’s partner Rahnuma Ahmed.
Meanwhile, Indian photographer Raghu Rai wrote an open letter on Facebook to Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, expressing “deep hurt” at Alam’s detention. Rai requested the prime minister “not to punish the honest, the truthful representative of the youth”.
In a separate statement, Rai and more than 30 prominent Indian photographers, curators and artists demanded Alam’s release. Filmmaker Amar Kanwar, journalist Paranjoy Guha Thakurata and artist Gauri Gill were among those who signed the statement.
The Mumbai Press Club and Bombay News Photographers Association announced they will hold a protest meeting outside the Mumbai Press Club at 6 pm on Tuesday. The organisations said they oppose the “brutality meted out” to Alam, and demanded his “unconditional and immediate release”.
In his open letter, Rai described himself as a friend of Bangladesh, and said: “We are deeply hurt by the news of Shahidul being detained and tortured. All he has done is to use his photographic skill and voice to capture the truth of ongoing reality in a most committed and compassionate way.”
Alam’s multimedia agency Drik had said on Monday that he had been “abducted” from his home in Dhaka the previous night, allegedly by officials from the city police’s Detective Branch.
Organisations protest assault on photographer Pravin Indrekar in Gujarat
The Mumbai Press Club and Bombay News Photographers Association said they would also protest the assault of DNA photographer Pravin Indrekar as well as several lawyers and students during a police crackdown on illegal alcohol sale in Ahmedabad on July 28.
Some of the victims, identified as members of a denotified tribe called Chharas, alleged that those who were arrested were not smuggling liquor. They alleged that they were targets of a rise in incidents of police brutality over the last several months, a statement issued by the organisations said.
Indrekar was reportedly taking photographs when police personnel were taking action against those arrested.