Bangladeshi journalist tortured by police, held for nearly a year

first_imgContinuing fears On his release from prison, Faridul told waiting journalists and an RSF representative that he was still very concerned for his safety. “My security could still be in danger because the police officer’s colleagues and underworld gangs feel threatened,” he said. February 26, 2021 Find out more Help by sharing this information Organisation RSF_en In stories published in May and June 2019, Faridul focused on cases of extortion and death threats in connection with alleged links between local drug cartels and Pradeep Kumar Das, the Officer-in-Charge (OC) at the police station in Teknaf, a border town 75 km south of Cox’s Bazar. News Before bringing Faridul before a judge, OC Pradeep staged a raid on his home on 21 September 2019, in which his men planted two illegal firearms, 400 yaba pills (a popular local drug) and bottles of alcohol, and then pretended to discover them. This “evidence” and the three other charges brought by Pradeep sufficed to get Faridul jailed without any hope of bail. September 7, 2020 Bangladeshi journalist tortured by police, held for nearly a year News Bangladesh is ranked 150th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2020 World Press Freedom Index. News On 17 August, the Bangladesh high court ordered his release on bail. He was released 10 days later but he remains charged on a total of six counts, including illegal possession of drugs, alcohol and firearms, which could potentially result in his being imprisoned again. All-powerful police officer BangladeshAsia – Pacific Condemning abusesProtecting journalists ImprisonedJudicial harassmentViolence Faridul Mostafa with his family after being released from Cox’s Bazar prison on 27 August 2020 (left). The photo on the right, provided by the police, gives an idea of the level of the torture to which this journalist was subjected (photos obtained by Saleem Samad/RSF). “He was brutally tortured in police custody before being brought before a court in Cox’s Bazar three days later,” his wife Hasina Akter, told RSF. She said his hands and legs were broken and the nails of his fingers and toes were pulled out with pliers by Pradeep himself. His eyesight has been badly affected by the red chili powder that was rubbed in his eyes, and he was forced to drink sewage water, which caused severe diarrhoea. “We urge Bangladesh’s highest judicial authorities to immediately dismiss the spurious charges against Faridul Mostafa, to assume responsibility for his medical costs, and to issue orders for him to be given effective protection,” said Daniel Bastard, the head of RSF’s Asia-Pacific desk. “His horrific ordeal calls for deep reforms in the police and judicial system so that journalists can freely investigate corruption cases without fearing reprisals. The credibility of the rule of law in Bangladesh is at stake.” Bangladeshi writer and blogger dies in detention RSF calls for the release of Bangladeshi journalist Rozina Islam, unfairly accused of espionage to go further After Faridul himself began being the target of threats, he wrote letters to the prime minister, home affairs minister and police inspector general in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, on 28 June 2019 requesting protection against OC Pradeep. BangladeshAsia – Pacific Condemning abusesProtecting journalists ImprisonedJudicial harassmentViolence Follow the news on Bangladesh His wife told RSF that the family did not dare to contest the charges in court or report this scandal to the press for fear of reprisals by the all-powerful police officer. It was only Pradeep’s arrest early last month for the murder of a retired army officer that finally loosened tongues and revived Faridul’s hopes. Receive email alerts As RSF reported at the time, local newspaper reporter Shariful Alam Chowdhury was nearly beaten to death by thugs acting on the orders of a local official in Muradnagar, on the outskirts of Cumilla, 100 km east of Dhaka, in July. News In June, RSF and four other NGOs wrote to Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina asking her to take concrete action to guarantee press freedom in the face of an alarming surge in physical attacks against reporters investigating corruption. According to RSF’s tally, at least 15 journalists have been subjected to serious violence in Bangladesh since a lockdown was imposed in late March in response to the coronavirus crisis. Two days later, OC Pradeep filed three complaints accusing Faridul of extortion. The alarmed Faridul fled to Dhaka but he was located by means of his mobile phone signal and, after OC Pradeep’s thugs arrested him there on 19 September 2019, he was brought all the way back to the police station in Teknaf. This is when the real nightmare began. Brutal torture May 19, 2021 Find out more Bangladeshi reporter fatally shot by ruling party activists The editor of the Cox’s Bazar Bani daily and the Janatar Bani news website, Faridul Mostafa was finally released on bail from Cox’s Bazar prison on 27 August after being held for 11 months and five days for covering local government corruption linked to the region’s drug trafficking with neighbouring Myanmar. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is spotlighting the horrific story, one that remained unreported until very recently, of a journalist who was tortured and arbitrarily jailed for nearly a year for investigating the widespread corruption in and around the city of Cox’s Bazar in the far southeast of Bangladesh. February 22, 2021 Find out morelast_img read more

Prince William opens new China Centre building at St Hugh’s

first_imgThe Duke of Cambridge was at St Hugh’s College this afternoon to open a new £21m China Centre library, hours after Kensington Palace announced that the Duchess is expecting their second child.The Duchess was due to join her husband in the traditional Chinese ribbon cutting ceremony, but had to withdraw as a result of severe morning sickness.Prince William arrived at the college around 1.30pm, greeted by a large crowd that had started gathering an hour before.The Duke abated the curiosity and concerns of well-wishers with a few words about his pregnant wife, explaining, “she is feeling ok. It has been a tricky few weeks or so but we basically are thrilled. It is great news. It is early days, we are hoping things settle down and she is feeling better.”[mm-hide-text]%%IMG%%10163%%[/mm-hide-text]After meeting benefactors and friends and supporters of the college, he was given a tour of the new library during which he was shown the Selden Map of China. Recognised as the earliest map to show shipping routes linking Ming-era China to markets in South Asia and beyond, it underwent major conservation work in 2008 and was exhibited in China earlier this year.A plaque was then unveiled, which bore the name of the Duke and Duchess, despite the absence of the latter.[mm-hide-text]%%IMG%%10160%%[/mm-hide-text]Prince William then cut the ribbon in a traditional Chinese ceremony, before departing just after 4pm.The Dickson Poon University of Oxford China Centre Building – the library’s full title – cost a total of £21m, and was named after Hong Kong philanthropist Mr Dickson Poon CBE, who donated £10m towards the cost of the building.A statement on the College website explains, “This building will, for the first time, bring together academics drawn from across a range of disciplines, who have in common research and teaching interests related to China.“The building will also provide 63 en-suite student bedrooms, a 100 seat lecture theatre, dining area and a range of conference and seminar facilities.  It will also contain a dedicated library with study carrels and a reading room, which will provide a permanent home for books from the Bodleian Library’s China Collection.”[mm-hide-text]%%IMG%%10161%%[/mm-hide-text]St Hugh’s principal Dame Elish Angiolini announced, “St Hugh’s is extremely proud to have raised £20 million for this new development, and we are confident that through continued fundraising we will soon have the total amount needed. We are immensely grateful to our donors for helping us to provide such attractive, modern facilities for the students, Fellows and wider community at St Hugh’s.”Media attention was understandably far greater than anticipated following the announcement of the royal baby. The college’s Head of Communications and Marketing, Kate Pritchard, tweeted, “A pleasure to meet HRH The Duke of Cambridge today @StHughsCollege #Oxford. He spent so much time speaking to staff, students and visitors.”last_img read more