It has been 105 days since police picked him up from home
Photojournalist Shahidul Alam has been released from prison on Tuesday, five days after High Court granted him bail in a case filed for spreading “propaganda through social media” during a student movement demanding safer roads in August.
He was released on Tuesday evening from Dhaka Central Jail in Keraniganj after the jail authorities processed his bail order.
Family members and friends had been waiting all day at the prison gate, but the photographer's release had been delayed due to complications with the paperwork.
Barrister Jyotirmoy Barua, one of Shahidul Alam’s counsels, said that the bail order had been communicated at around 11.30am, but the jail authority apparently found discrepancy of address in the Release Order, making the delay.
He said it was a trivial issue and if the authorities wanted they could have released him at that time. Only one Shahidul Alam could be found in the jail accused in a case filed with Ramna police station.
The harassment was unnecessary and it was needless to make the process longer, he added.
Jailer of Dhaka Central Jail Mahbubul Islam said after verifying the papers, Shahidul Alam was released at around 8:15pm.
On August 5, Shahidul was picked up by the police’s Detective Branch (DB) officials from his Dhanmondi residence, hours after he went on Facebook live to speak and gave Al Jazeera an interview about clashes during the student movement demanding road safety.
Police filed the case against him under the ICT Act with the Ramna police station the next day, accusing him of “provoking people and spreading false information and propaganda against the government” centring the movement.
Later, his bail petitions were rejected by the court several times and he remained in jail.
Earlier on November 15, a High Court bench comprising Justices Sheikh Abdul Awal and Bhishmadev Chakrabortty granted Shahidul bail considering his age, physical condition, and the time he spent behind bars.
He has been in jail for 108 days but demand for his release has not been short of support from the international human rights groups and media communities since his arrest.
Amnesty International: drop all charges against Shahidul
In response to Shahidul Alam's release from prison today, Amnesty International urged the authorities to drop all charges.
Amnesty InternationalRegional Campaigner for South Asia,Saad Hammadi said:"Shahidul Alam is a bold representation of Bangladesh through his lens. He should not have been detained at the first place for peacefully sharing his opinion.
“Bangladeshi authorities must immediately drop charges against Shahidul Alam and uphold its international commitment to protect the right to freedom of expression.”