Arrange for release of Kajol: CPJ urges PM | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, October 03, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:34 AM, October 03, 2020

Arrange for release of Kajol: CPJ urges PM

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), a non-governmental organisation that champions press freedom around the world, has asked Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to arrange for the immediate and unconditional release of journalist Shafiqul Islam Kajol.

In a letter, signed by CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon, the organisation expressed concern that Kajol's ailment makes him vulnerable to Covid-19 infection.

"The current danger to Kajol is significant. We call on you to instruct the home affairs minister to drop the charges against him immediately," said CPJ.

"At a minimum, we ask that you instruct the minister of law, justice and parliamentary affairs to stop opposing bail, so that Kajol can be released and recover his health at home," reads the letter.

"We remain very concerned about the indiscriminate use of the Digital Security Act against Kajol and other journalists in Bangladesh, and have documented many misuses of this law against the press," read the letter sent to the premier over email on October 1.

Kajol, a photojournalist and editor of the biweekly Pakkhakal magazine, disappeared on March 10 only to reappear near the border with India in early May, blindfolded and apparently held against his will during that time.

His disappearance followed the filing of three cases against him in Dhaka under the Digital Security Act for alleged derogatory online postings.

After his reappearance, Kajol was immediately arrested on trespassing charges, granted bail, then subsequently rearrested and then held under Section 54 of the Criminal Procedure Code, CPJ documented at the time.

He was transferred to a jail in Dhaka and has been repeatedly denied bail, most recently on September 14, according to news reports.  

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