Bangladesh Arrests Journalists Known for Fighting Corruption
A journalist in Bangladesh known for her reporting on government corruption was arrested on charges of violating an official secrets act, officials said Tuesday.
The charges carry a possible death penalty.
Rozina Islam is a reporter for the leading Prothom Alo newspaper. She is charged with using her cellphone without permission to photograph documents related to government negotiations to buy coronavirus vaccines. The government said she was waiting in a room of a government official involved in the negotiations when she took the photos. The Associated Press has seen the document that lays out the charges.
Islam is known for reporting on corruption involving the Ministry of Health and others. Several of her recent stories have reported on the millions of dollars spent to buy health equipment to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.
Islam's sister said she was held for more than five hours late Monday in the Ministry of Health. Her family added that she was physically and mentally harassed while being held.
Islam was then handed over to Dhaka Metropolitan Police to face charges under the Secrets Act. A police official confirmed that she was charged with theft and photographing of state documents.
The charges carry a possible death penalty, the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said in a statement.
Maidul Islam Prodhan is a spokesman for the health ministry. He said Islam took photos of "important" documents. He added that "She was also taking away some documents" over the objections of two workers at that time.
Islam appeared in court on Tuesday. Police asked to hold her for questioning for five days and defense lawyers asked for her release on bail.
The judge rejected both requests and sent her to jail until her next court appearance on Thursday, a defense lawyer said.
Journalists groups in Bangladesh and the CPJ demanded her release. A CPJ representative said the charges were brought under a "colonial-era law that carries ridiculously harsh penalties."
Earlier this month, the New York-based group Human Rights Watch said Bangladeshi journalists are risking arrest, torture and harassment under a widely used Digital Security Act.
It said at least 247 journalists were reportedly subjected to attacks, harassment and intimidation by the government in 2020. More than 900 cases were brought under the Digital Security Act, with nearly 1,000 people charged and 353 detained, many of them journalists, it said.
I'm Susan Shand.
1. without permission 未经许可；
She took the car without permission.
2. be known for 以…闻名的；
She was known for the quickness of her wit.
3. hand over 移交（犯人等）；
They would just catch the robbers and ha nd them over to the police.
4. take away 拿走；夺走；
Take away these teacups.
罗齐娜·伊斯拉姆是主要报纸《曙光日报》的记者 。她被控在未经允许的情况下使用手机拍摄政府协商采购冠状病毒疫苗的相关文件 。政府表示，拍摄照片时，她正在一名参与协商的政府官员的办公室里等待 。美联社已经看到了有关指控的文件 。
伊斯拉姆以举报卫生部等部门的腐败而闻名 。她最近的几篇报道都聚焦政府花费数百万美元购买医疗设备以应对冠状病毒疫情一事 。
伊斯拉姆的妹妹表示，伊斯拉姆周一晚上被关在卫生部超过5个小时 。她的家人补充称，她在被关押期间受到身体和精神上的骚扰 。
伊斯拉姆随后被移交给达卡大都会警察局，因违反《保密法》而面临指控 。一名警方官员证实，她被控盗窃罪和拍摄国家文件罪 。
迈杜尔·伊斯拉姆·普罗丹是孟加拉国卫生部的发言人 。他表示，伊斯兰姆拍摄了“重要”文件的照片 。他补充称，她还不顾两名工作人员的反对，“拿走了一些文件” 。
伊斯拉姆周二出庭受审 。警方要求拘禁她5天以进行问询，辩护律师要求保释她 。
孟加拉国的记者组织和保护记者委员会要求释放她 。保护记者委员会的一名代表表示，这些指控依据“殖民时代的法律提出，而且该法律规定了极其严厉的惩罚 。”
据报道，2020年至少有247名记者受到孟加拉国政府的攻击、骚扰和恐吓 。根据《数字安全法》，有900多起案件被提起诉讼，近1000人被起诉，353人被拘留，其中大多是记者 。