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Bangladesh 12 May 2007

Authorities free journalist and human rights activist Tasneem Khalil

Tasneem Khalil, a CNN stringer and Human Rights Watch consultant, was released at around 11 p.m. on 11 May after being held for nearly 23 hours.

Agence France-Presse said he had been questioned about messages that had been sent from his mobile phone and about comments he had posted on his blog (

Khalil was arrested at his home shortly after midnight on 11 May by plain-clothes officers, who confiscated his passport and professional documents.


Call for release of leading journalist and human rights activist Tasneem Khalil

Reporters Without Borders today called on the head of Pakistan’s interim government, Dr. Fakhruddin Ahmed, to do everything possible to obtain the immediate release of journalist Tasneem Khalil, who was arrested by soldiers at his Dhaka home in the early hours of today and who is now believed to be detained at a military camp next to the parliament building.

An investigative reporter and deputy editor of The Daily Star, one of the country’s leading newspapers, Khalil is also a Human Rights Watch consultant, a CNN stringer and blogger (

“The arrest of a respected journalist and human rights activist in the middle night is a serious violation of the interim government’s undertakings to respect free expression,” the press freedom organisation said. “We fear Khalil could be mistreated. The government must quickly intercede with the army to obtain his release.”

Khalil, 26, was arrested at his home shortly after midnight today by four soldiers in plain-clothes who refused to say why he was being detained but told his wife they were taking him to the military camp near the parliament. Daily Star publisher Mahfuz Anam said he was trying to obtain his employee’s release.

Khalil has assisted with the research for several Human Rights Watch reports including one on extrajudicial killings by the Bangladeshi security forces. The organisation has issued a statement describing him as “a prominent voice in Bangladesh for human rights” and saying it is very concerned about his safety.

Khalil has also written extensively about the human rights situation and the role of the army in his blog

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