Eminent citizens yesterday expressed concern that a court framed charges against five people, including Prothom Alo Editor Matiur Rahman, in a case filed over the tragic death of college student Naimul Abrar.
“The inclusion of Prothom Alo Editor Matiur Rahman in the charges made us worried for various reasons,” said a statement they issued.
On November 1 last year, the student of Dhaka Residential Model College died when he came in contact with a live wire during a ceremony commemorating Kishor Alo’s anniversary on the college premises, said the statement.
“The incident was unexpected and regrettable,” the statement said. “But it was not even an event of the Prothom Alo. It was organised by the newspaper’s subsidiary Kishor Alo. The Prothom Alo editor was not even present at the event.
“We think there is no scope to see the case separately from the ones filed in the past against the country’s reputed and free-thinking editors, including Matiur Rahman, to harass them.”
The citizens demanded that all charged in the case be allowed the right to legal remedy.
“Our concern is that such a case would be misused to shrink the freedom of the editors and newspapers. We call upon everyone to desist from such attempts.”
Signatories to the statement include Professor Emeritus Serajul Islam Choudhury of Dhaka University, researcher and language movement veteran Ahmad Rafique, litterateur Hasan Azizul Haque, former adviser to a caretaker government M Hafizuddin Khan, Central Women’s University VC Parveen Hasan, writer Prof Abul Kashem Fazlul Haq, former cabinet secretary Ali Imam Majumder, rights activist Sultana Kamal, former election commissioner Brig Gen (retd) M Sakhawat Hussain, actor and playwright Mamunur Rashid, former adviser to a caretaker government Rasheda K Chowdhury, author and educationist Syed Manzoorul Islam, economist Moinul Islam, Shushashoner Jonno Nagorik Secretary Badiul Alam Majumdar, local government expert Tofail Ahmed, Transparency International Bangladesh Executive Director Iftekharuzzaman, Supreme Court lawyer Shahdeen Malik, and chief executive of Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association Syeda Rizwana Hasan.