CPJ urges Jordan for immediate release of Bangladeshi journalist
10:53 AM, June 02, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:02 AM, June 02, 2020

CPJ urges Jordan for immediate release of Bangladeshi journalist

The Committee to Protect Journalists has called upon Jordanian authorities to immediately release Bangladeshi journalist Selim Akash and drop any charges against him.

On April 14, three men in plainclothes arrested Akash, a reporter for Bangladeshi satellite broadcaster Bangla TV and news portal Jago News, from in front of his house in Amman, CPJ said in a statement today.

Quoting Akash's family members, it said the men did not identify themselves, nor state a reason for the arrest. They didn't say where they were taking him either.

On April 17, Akash called his family and said the men had been Jordanian security officers and that he was being held in a prison in As-Salt, northwest of Amman.

The relative said Akash has been charged with violating Jordan's telecommunications and anti-terrorism laws, but did not know the specific provisions that he was alleged to have broken.

The Ministry of Interior of Jordan has issued a deportation order against Akash, but no date has been set for the deportation yet, the relative told CPJ.

Akash was transferred to Qafqafa Prison in mid-May and he has been unable to see a lawyer while in custody.

"If Jordan is to even pretend that it is a country that takes the rule of law seriously, it cannot detain journalists for weeks on vague charges and without access to a lawyer," said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Representative Ignacio Miguel Delgado.

"Authorities should release Selim Akash immediately and drop their bogus terrorism charges against him."

"Police just told him that he was detained for posting news on Facebook," Akash's relative said, saying authorities did not cite any specific posts.

The most recent news of Akash published before his arrest was a news broadcast, which he also posted on his personal Facebook account, on the situation of Bangladeshi migrant workers in Jordan, who could not earn money during the Covid-19 lockdown.

The family member added that Akash was not registered as a journalist with the Jordan Media Commission and was not on a press visa, saying he had been unable to update his working papers due to Jordan's strict migrant worker regulations.

Akash's relative told CPJ that a court date in the journalist's case had been set for June 14.

CPJ emailed Jordan's Interior Ministry and Public Security Directorate for comment, but did not receive any replies. CPJ also emailed Bangla TV for comment, but no one replied.

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