Amar Desh stops publication for now | The Daily Star
12:14 AM, April 16, 2013 / LAST MODIFIED: 10:31 AM, April 16, 2013

Amar Desh stops publication for now

Alleges govt obstruction to its printing; rights bodies criticise Mahmudur’s arrest

The Amar Desh authorities, alleging government obstruction, have decided to suspend publication of the Bangla daily.
At a press conference at Jatiya Press Club yesterday afternoon, they said the government had illegally “sealed off” their press and barred them from printing the newspaper even at Al Falah Printing Press of daily Sangram.
Accompanied by Syed Abdal Ahmed, executive editor of Amar Desh, advocate Masud Ahmed Talukder, a lawyer for the daily, said the newspaper authorities would go to the Supreme Court and seek a directive for publishing the paper.
He added the government had committed contempt of court by violating a 2010 SC directive which allowed the daily to continue its publication.
Meanwhile, the Dhaka district administration filed a case against Abul Asad, owner of Al Falah Printing Press and editor of Bangla daily Sangram, and Mahmuda Begum, acting chairman of Amar Desh, for printing the daily at the Al Falah Printing Press without government permission.
Executive Magistrate Nasrin Sultana filed the case with Ramna Police Station on Saturday, two days after the arrest of Amar Desh acting Editor Mahmudur Rahman.
Aided by Ramna police, the magistrate also raided the Al Falah Printing Press at Moghbazar, seized 210 copies of Saturday's issue of Amar Desh and 5,000 copies of its Sunday issue from the press and picked up 19 Amar Desh press staff, who are now in jail.
Shaikh Yusuf Harun, deputy commissioner of Dhaka, told The Daily Star that Abul Asad had committed a criminal act by printing Amar Desh illegally.
"Al Falah has a declaration of printing daily Sangram, not Amar Desh. Besides, the Al Falah authorities did not seek any permission from the district administration for printing Amar Desh at their press."
The DC added, "We did not seal off the Al Falah Printing Press considering that it would lead to the closure of another daily."
Advocate Saleh Uddin Ahmed, another counsel for Amar Desh, said according to the Printing Presses and Publications (Declarations and Registrations) Act-1973 it was not mandatory for AL Falah to take permission from the DC to print Amar Desh.
On Thursday morning, police arrested Mahmudur Rahman in a case for publishing Skype conversations between Justice Md Nizamul Huq, ex-chairman of International Crimes Tribunal-1, and Ahmed Ziauddin, an expatriate Bangladeshi legal expert.
He was also shown arrested in two other cases -- one filed on March 17 in connection with hartal and pre-hartal violence and another on March 26 for assaulting police and obstructing their work.
The same day, a general diary was also filed against him for running a fictitious report in January involving the changing of the Gilaf (cover) of Holy Kaaba. Amar Desh published a photo of the event with a false news report with the caption, “A human chain led by the khatib of Holy Kaaba protests the war crimes trial in Bangladesh.”
Later at night, law enforcers locked the Amar Desh press and seized a computer and some documents.
Condemnation
Criticising the way Mahmudur Rahman was arrested at his office, rights organisation Ain o Salish Kendra said it does not morally support any kind of interference in the freedom of the press or the closing down of any newspaper.
However, ASK also slammed Amar Desh for publishing illogical and provocative news reports in the last few months that have led to anarchy and indiscipline in the country, says a press release.
The Asian Federation against Involuntary Disappearance, another rights body, an international human rights organisation, in a separate press release called upon the government to uphold the civil and political rights of Mahmudur Rahman and condemned the “closure of Amar Desh”.
Under the international human treaties signed by Bangladesh, the government is bound to uphold the rights of journalists like Mahmudur Rahman, who play a vital role in exposing human rights violations in the country, the release added.

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