After spending 10 days in detention, press photographer Selim Jahangir was released on bail on 10 November but he still faced charges of disobeying a judge and putting the judge’s life in danger.
Photographer arrested while covering a police check
Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontières) protested today against the arrest of photographer Selim Jahangir, of the national daily Janakantha, for taking pictures of a police check in the northeastern city of Rajshahi and supposedly "endangering" the life of a magistrate involved in the operation.
"This is a plain abuse of authority," said secretary general Robert Ménard in a letter to home affairs minister Altaf Hossain Chowdhury. "How can a photographer endanger a magistrate’s life just by taking pictures of such an event? We ask that you order his release and the dropping of charges against him."
Jahangir, who also works for the local paper Sonali Sangbad, was arrested on 1 November in the centre of the city as police, accompanied by a magistrate, Abdul Majid, were checking people’s IDs. Despite the magistrate’s order that he leave, he had taken pictures of an incident when one passer-by denounced the operation as "police harassment." Police seized his camera, mobile phone and motorcycle and he was imprisoned as journalists went to the police station to ask why he has been detained.
The next day, a court refused to release him on bail and the authorities told his lawyer he had been arrested for endangering the magistrate’s life, disobeying his orders and not presenting his driving licence and the log-book of the motorcycle, which police accused him of stealing. Local journalists’ organisations staged a protest march on 2 November calling for his release.
Reporters Without Borders recorded 51 physical attacks on journalists, including a dozen murder attempts, in Bangladesh this year up to 5 August, along with 50 death threats, 13 arrests, 14 unjustified prosecutions and five kidnappings.