Forty-seven noted citizens yesterday protested and condemned the filing of a case against Prothom Alo Editor and Publisher Matiur Rahman and nine others over the death of Naimul Abrar Rahat, a student of Dhaka Residential Model College.
“We consider this case to be motivated based on the manner in which various important government persons have made statements regarding this case, and the manner in which the editor of Prothom Alo has been implicated in this case,” they said in a statement.
Even though the legal proceedings could have continued with issuance of a summon, an arrest warrant was issued, they said.
By issuing the arrest warrant a few hours before the weekly holiday, the opportunity to seek protection from a higher court has been significantly reduced, they added.
“There is no way of considering this case as separate from the attacks one after another on freedom of expression in the country.”
They demanded that the Prothom Alo editor and all other accused get complete legal remedy.
They urged all to refrain from using such cases to curb press freedom.
The signatories to the statement are: Professor Emeritus Serajul Islam Choudhury, former advisor to a caretaker government M Hafizuddin Khan, former cabinet secretary Ali Imam Majumder, rights activists Hameeda Hossain, Sultana Kamal, Rahnuma Ahmed, Khushi Kabir, Shireen Haq, Maleka Begum, Farida Akhter, Nur Khan Liton, former election commissioner M Sakhawat Hossain, economist Debapriya Bhattacharya, TIB Executive Director Iftekharuzzaman, Sujan Secretary Badiul Alam Majumdar, lawyers ZI Khan Panna, Sara Hossain, Jyotirmoy Barua, local government expert Tofail Ahmed, jurist Shahdeen Malik, Gonoshasthaya Kendra founder Zafrullah Chowdhury, Prof Anu Muhammad, Prof Gitiara Nasreen, Dr CR Abrar, Prof Ali Riaz, Prof Asif Nazrul, Sumaiya Khair, Shahnaj Huda, Firdous Azim, Robaet Ferdous, Sayeed Ferdous, Swapan Adnan, environment activist Syeda Rizwana Hasan, photographer Shahidul Alam, Parwin Hassan, Mirza Taslima Sultana, Faustina Pereira, Omar Tareque Chowdhury, child neurologist Naila Zaman Khan, Jakir Hossain, Golam Mortoza, Hasnat Kayum, Rezaur Rahman Lenin, Arup Rahee, Hasibur Rahman, Sinthia Farid and Hana Shams Ahmed.