A Dhaka court yesterday directed the jail authorities to take measures to provide division to noted photographer Shahidul Alam as per the Jail Code.
Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Md Saifuzzaman Hero passed the order after Shahidul's lawyer Ehsanul Haque Shomaji submitted a petition seeking first class for his client in jail.
The photographer is behind bars on charges of “spreading propaganda and false information against the government”.
In the petition, Ehsanul said his client is an internationally renowned personality and has won a number of awards for his contributions to the nation. Moreover, his parents were also given national awards for their outstanding activities. He should be provided first class division considering his social status, the lawyer argued.
Shahidul, 63, was picked up by law enforcers on the night of August 5 from his Dhanmondi home.
The following day, he was placed on seven-day remand after police had produced him before a court seeking a 10-day remand. He told the court that he was tortured in custody, but the police denied the allegation.
He was sent to jail on August 13 on completion of his remand.
In response to a writ petition filed by his wife Rahnuma Ahmed on August 7, the High Court directed the authorities concerned to immediately send him to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, arrange his medical examination and submit a report by 10:30am on August 9.
The BSMMU authorities formed a four-member medical board to examine his health and mental condition. The board's report submitted to the HC mentioned that he was physically and mentally sound.
During hearing at the HC on August 9, the defence argued that there was no psychologist in the medical board to examine his mental condition.
The hearing of Shahidul's bail petition would be held on September 11 at the court of Metropolitan and Sessions Judge, Dhaka.
To attract people's attention to the work of Shahidul Alam and to promote solidarity with him, a photographic exhibition was held in Peru yesterday.
Alta Tecnología Andina (ATA) and the Cultural Centre Ricardo Palma jointly organised the exhibition titled “Shahidul Alam: A voice from the shadows.”
The exhibition was curated by José-Carlos Mariátegui and Jorge Villacorta, says a press release.
Thousands of voices have risen in the world in the last three weeks in protest against the arrest of Shahidul and “mistreatment he has been suffering in prison”, it read.
The exhibition was inaugurated on August 24 at Raúl Porras Barrenechea Hall, Ricardo Palma Cultural Centre, Av. Larco 770, Miraflores, Lima, Perú. It will be available for viewing till September 9.
The exhibition summarises his career as a photojournalist, in Bangladesh and around the world.
In the last 30 years he has developed a broad work both in education and in the promotion of an ethical and committed attitude with regards to the problems that affect societies in invisible areas of the world.