May 11, 2007

Breaking News: Journalist Blogger Tasneem Khalil arrested

I am appalled by the arrest of Bangladeshi Journalist and Blogger Tasneem Khalil by the Joint Forces. Reports have been coming that he was picked up by the joint forces from his house at around midnight. They have taken away his cell phone and passport. There is a state of emergency in Bangladesh and probably Tasneem became victim because he raised questions against the extra judicial killings of the joint forces. Here is his blog where you can read many of his articles. (Photo with his wife)

Tasneem is an editorial assistant of the Daily Star , a popular news daily in Bangladesh. He is also the representative of CNN and Human Rights Watch in Bangladesh.

Mash elaborates:
"Apparently Mr. Khalil’s crime is that he did his job. He spoke truthfully about the current situation in Bangladesh. He was interviewed by Nora Boustany of the Washington Post last month - that interview may have cost him his freedom and now possibly his life.

I have been speaking out over the last month about the military takedown of the democratic system in Bangladesh. One by one the fundamental rights of Bangladeshis have been taken away. But, Bangladeshis have recently started to fight back against the military. The press, the people and the courts have begun speaking out. The military now aims to silence them. Their thuggery is now plain to see.

Do not let Tasneem Khalil be "disappeared" into darkness. He is one of the brightest lights in Bangladeshi journalism and today, this minute, his life is in danger. Other reporters in Bangladesh are currently living in fear."
I condemn this. Lets spread the news. Tasneem has to be saved.

Other Bangladeshi Blogs joining hands in protest:

* Unheard Voices: Drishtipat group Blog

* Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying

* Keep Me Honest

* Salam Dhaka

* My Dear Bangladesh

* Adda

* Serious Golmal

* Voice of Bangladeshi Bloggers

* Somewhere In Bangla Blog

* Live it Lively

* In the Middle of Nowhere

* Dhaka

* Shahidul News

* Imperfect | World | 2007

* Cholera in the Time of Love

* Addafication

* The Bangladesh Poet of Impropriety

* Past Present and Future

* Shada Kalo

* Conversations with an Optimist

International bloggers:

* The Moderate Voice

* Within Without

* Amar Akbar Anthony

* Sculpin

* Pickled Politics

* Taylor Mash

* Michael P.F. van der Galiën

Update by Rubel:
"CNN and HRW has gotten the ball rolling. Farooq Sobhan(Bangladesh CTG chief's special envoy) is in the U.S right now, should get be getting a call, if not already. I am also told that this has been elevated to the State dept. Washington Post is going to run a story on this tomorrow."

Update II: Human rights watch has the story:

“We are extremely concerned about Tasneem Khalil’s safety,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “He has been a prominent voice in Bangladesh for human rights and the rule of law, and has been threatened because of that.”

The men did not offer a warrant or any charges, Khalil’s wife said. Using threatening language, they searched the house and confiscated Khalil’s passport, two computers, documents, and two mobile phones.

“It is an emergency; we can arrest anyone,” one of the men said. Another asked if Khalil suffered from any particular physical ailments. They drove Khalil off in a Pajero jeep.

And some harsh words too:

“The Bangladeshi military should be on notice that its actions are being closely watched by the outside world,” Adams said. “Any harm to Tasneem Khalil will seriously undermine the army’s claims to legitimacy and upholding the rule of law.”

Update III: CNN Wire now has the story. The Washington Times publishes the news in their World in Brief section.

Suchinta posts how you can help Tasneem if you are in USA.

Update IV: International Herald Tribune has the story.

Update V: From Drishtipat:
5:50 pm BDT

Diplomatic community official told one of our contacts @ 12 noon “he will be released”. It is now 6 pm, and there is still no word. Many people don’t have internet access as today holiday, so the strategic decision to arrest him night before weekend helped to impose partial news blackout. SMSs still flying, but no new update. Shockingly, still nothing posted on Daily Star or BDNews24, even though they have other breaking news. So they have decided to sit on it. Also note, Reuters quotes Zafar Sobhan, but not Mahfuz Anam– editor of the DS.
I wrote about self censorship in Bangladeshi media a couple of days ago.

Update VI:
Bloggers at Bangla blogging platform "Bandh Bhanger Awaaj" suspended regular postings and declared that they will only write about Tasneem Khalil today.


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