It also calls for release of the detained prisoners under DSA
ARTICLE 19 has strongly condemned and protested against the death of imprisoned writer Mushtaq Ahmed who was arrested under the Digital Security Act and also urged for a proper investigation in this regard.
The organization issued a press release in this regard on Friday.
It also demanded an unconditional release and proper medical treatment of the ailing cartoonist Ahmed Kabir Kishore.
ARTICLE 19 also demands the release of the arrestees under DSA in the country including cartoonist Ahmed Kabir Kishore, Ruhul Amin Gazi, Abul Asad, Sadat Hespan, Nazmul Sohag, Saiful Islam, Nazmul Huda, Mithun Dev, Sankar Debnath, Anil Bhowmik, Shahdat Hossain, Monirul Islam, Abdur Rahman. Islam, Mujibur Rahman Chowdhury, Pintu Kumar, Naeem Biswas, Mithun Mandal, Mamun Sikder, Akash Das, Elijah Sarkar, and Helal Kazi.
Writer Mushtaq Ahmed and cartoonist Ahmed Kabir Kishore were arrested by RAB on May 7, 2020, on the charges of spreading rumors about the Father of the Nation, Liberation War, and coronavirus pandemic through social media platforms aiming to conspire against the state and tarnish the image of the government. However, writer Mushtaq Ahmed has been imprisoned since then.
On the contrary, the family of the cartoonist claimed that Kishore has been subjected to various forms of physical abuse in jail. Imprisoned cartoonist Ahmed Kabir Kishore's physical condition is not good according to verified sources. He is now at risk of developing high levels of diabetes. Moreover, he is suffering from an infection in his left ear and left leg.
“Article 19 has observed that the freedom of speech, freedom of expression, and freedom of the media are being severely violated under the Digital Security Act. During the coronavirus pandemic, journalists, academics, human rights activists, lawyers, students, and people from different walks of life have been targeted.
“Article 19 is putting great efforts observing the ongoing human rights violation using this DSA act from the beginning it has been introduced and applied,” read the press release.
“No initiative has been taken to change the act by the government so far. As a result, the organization believes that the change in the law will now require joint protests by human rights organizations, including the National Human Rights Commission, the Law Commission, and the Bar Council,” it added.
Law enforcement agencies, government officials, and ruling party leaders in Bangladesh filed 80% of all Digital Security Act (DSA) cases in 2020, according to the UK- based human rights organization Article 19.
Out of 145 cases filed from January to September in 2020, a total of 69 were filed by leaders and officeholders of the ruling party, 51 by police and Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), three by government officials, five by journalists, and 17 by others, as per Article 19 data. A total of 198 cases were filed in 2020, as compared to just 63 in 2019.