Four bloggers remain in jail under Special Powers Act without any charges being filed against them
By Shumu Haque
A Bangladeshi blogger’s Facebook page is being hacked and used to create controversy, while he remains in prison awaiting hearing of his case, an online network of Bangladeshi bloggers said on Wednesday.
Through the alliance, a combined platform of blog sites, a network of information has been created between the member blog sites, it said.
“As a result, we have the detailed information of how many times the arrested bloggers’ accounts were logged in after they were arrested, from where the accounts were logged in, which IP addresses were used to log in. Analyzing these instances of illegal logins, it is clear to us that these suspicious activities from the accounts of the arrested bloggers, who have no access to their Facebook and the blog accounts at the moment under Police custody are being carried out by unknown individuals and authorities,” said the release.
It is quite possible, that the bloggers were coerced to give up their passwords and other information to the Police under duress, the alliance said.
Subrata Adhikari, along with three other bloggers, Russel Parvez , Mashiur Rahman and Asif Mohiuddin have been arrested by the Detective Branch of Dhaka Metropolitan Police for allegedly sharing blasphemous opinions in their blogs.
They have been denied bail and are now awaiting a hearing on April 15, said Baki Billah, a fellow blogger and a friend told Humber News on Thursday.
“There is no ground for these arrests,” said Billah, “They have been arrested under the Special Powers Act and no charges have been brought against them yet.”
The Special Powers Act or section 54 of the Bangladeshi penal code is a law under which, the Bangladeshi government can detain anyone they suspect of being involved in activities that are a threat to the state without any specific charges.
“All of these bloggers, specially Rasel Parvez and Asif Mohiuddin are strong critiques of the government. Although, the apparent reason for their arrest is their alleged anti-religious blogs, we have to remember that they were equally vocal about issues such as share market scandal or political murders that implicate the government,” Billah said.
It is quite possible that the government will take advantage of the situation and hold them in for as long as possible, he said.
One of the bloggers, Mohiuddin was quite ill and his attorney had requested a transfer to hospital, which was denied.
“He is really very ill, and barely able to stand on his feet,” Billah said about Mohiuddin.
Earlier this year, on Jan. 15, Mohiuddin was attacked and severely stabbed by four Islamists.
Although he survived the attack, the eight stab wounds on his back and neck caused serious damage and he is still suffering from the aftermath of the injuries.
There have also been concerns about their safety while they are in prison, and yet a request to give them division and keep them away from common criminals have also been denied, said Razib Mir, assistant professor of Mass Communication and Journalism at Jagannath University and a social activist from Bangladesh.
“Once branded as an atheist, no one is safe in Bangladesh. The government itself has already jeopardized their safety by arresting them as atheists who need to be punished, it is kind of obvious, that it will not provide the bloggers with any security once they are in jail,” Mir told Humber News on Thursday.
Humber News will be monitoring the story closely for updates.