Dispose of Shahidul's bail plea by today

DHAKA (The Daily Star/ANN) - HC orders lower court

The High Court yesterday directed the lower court concerned to dispose of by today the bail application filed by internationally-acclaimed photographer Shahidul Alam in a case lodged for “spreading propaganda and false information against the government”.

The bench of Justice Md Rezaul Haque and Justice Abu Taher Md Saifur Rahman passed the order after hearing Shahidul's petition seeking bail in the case.

Sara Hossain and Syeda Rizwana Hasan appeared for Shahidul.

Jyotirmoy Barua, a lawyer for Shahidul, told The Daily Star that his client Shahidul filed the application with the Metropolitan Sessions Judge's Court of Dhaka on August 14.

The court is scheduled to hear the bail petition today, he added.

Shahidul, 63, is now in Dhaka Central Jail in a case lodged under the controversial section 57 of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Act.

Police charged him with “spreading propaganda and false information against the government”.

The renowned photographer was picked up by plainclothes men from his home in the capital's Dhanmondi on August 5.

Police filed the case against him and produced him before a Dhaka court the following day. He was then placed on a seven-day remand.

In court, Shahidul said he was tortured in custody. Police denied the allegation.

On completion of his seven-day remand, Shahidul was denied bail and sent to jail by a Dhaka court on August 13.

On September 4, a judge of another HC bench felt “embarrassed” to hear Shahidul's bail petition in the case. The same day, the bench forwarded the petition to the chief justice for a decision, saying one of the bench members felt “embarrassed” to hear the matter.

The bench, however, did not disclose any reason for it.

Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain yesterday assigned the HC bench led by Justice Md Rezaul Haque to hear and dispose of the bail petition of Shahidul, Jyotirmoy added.

Many notable personalities, including Nobel laureate Amartya Sen along with 11 other Nobel prize winners, have called for immediate release of Shahidul.

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