Justice for Mushtaq: Prof Serajul, Dr Kamal express solidarity | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 04, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:24 AM, March 04, 2021

Justice for Mushtaq: Prof Serajul, Dr Kamal express solidarity

Putting Mushtaq Ahmed behind bars for his writing and letting his death happen in prison were terrible injustices, Prof Emeritus Serajul Islam Choudhury said yesterday.

"This cannot be accepted by any means; it should not be accepted," the educationist said in a written message read out at a protest rally.

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The demonstration was organised under the banner "Nagorik Shomabesh" in front of the Jatiya Press Club demanding justice for Mushtaq.

Mushtaq, who was arrested in a case filed under the controversial Digital Security Act, died in Kashimpur jail of Gazipuron February 25.

Meanwhile, Gonoforum President Dr Kamal Hossain in another written message read out at the programme said freethinking, freedom of expression and freedom of press have been extremely curbed through the misuse of the DSA.

Prof Serajul and Dr Kamal did not attend the rally in person but expressed solidarity with the protesters.

In his message, Prof Serajul said when the DSA came into force, there were concerns from all quarters, except the government and its supporters, that the law would be misused and freedom of expression would be curbed further.

"Later, it was seen that the concerns were not unfounded. Cases were filed, people were arrested and harassed," he said.

The professor emeritus of Dhaka University said photojournalist Shafiqul Islam Kajol became a victim of enforced disappearance. When he was found in a bordering area, he was detained and later shown arrested under the DSA.

He said Kajol was granted bail following protests at home and abroad. However, Mushtaq was not granted bail although he filed bail payers six times.

"Will this be unjust to say that Mushtaq is the first martyred due tothe misuse of the Digital Security Act?" he asked.

He hoped Mushtaq's death would be the only such incident in the country.

Prof Serajul demanded a "speedy, transparent and orderly" probe into Mushtaq's death and immediate repeal of the DSA.

He said the writer's untimely death provides sufficient reasoning and proof why the act should be abolished.

Dr Kamal in his message said freedom of speech and freedom of press have been curbed severely.

The eminent jurist said despite repeated demands from rights groups and civil society platforms for amending the act's "repressive" clauses, the government did not take any step. Rather, the government began misusing the law even more, he alleged.

He said Mushtaq's death in prison custody was the extreme consequence of the misuse of the "black law".

"It is imperative to conduct a thorough probe into Mushtaq's death through an independent probe commission."

The veteran politician said it is quite necessary to amend the DSA's "repressive" clauses in line with recommendations made by the civil society members.


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