Award-winning photographer Shahidul Alam has spent over 100 days in jail, but – according to Reuters and several Bangladeshi newspapers – has finally been granted bail by the High Court this morning. “We’re delighted that ultimately the court has granted him bail,” said his lawyer Sarah Hossain in the Reuters’ report, adding she expected her client to be out soon.
The 63-year-old photographer and activist was arrested at his home in Dhaka on 05 August, and was charged the next day with violating Section 57 of Bangladesh’s Information and Communication Technology Act (ICT), after giving an interview to Al Jazeera on the current wave of student protests in Bangladesh against unsafe roads. In the interview, he stated that these actions stemmed from anger about widespread government corruption, and the charges mean he faces up to 14 years in prison.
Bangladeshi photographer Shahidul Alam has been given the Humanitarian Award at this year’s Lucie Awards. The award was given on 28 October in recognition of Alam’s prestigious career in photography and activism, which has seen him documenting the democratic struggle to remove Bangladeshi dictator General Hussain Muhammad Ershad in 1984, publishing a celebrated book My journey as a witness, and taking the last official portrait of Nelson Mandela in 2009. In addition, Alam set up the award-winning Drik picture agency, the Chobi Mela festival, and the South Asian Media Institute.
Alam is currently in prison in Bangladesh, having been arrested on 05 August and charged with violating Bangladesh’s Information and Communication Technology Act. The Lucie Foundation took the opportunity to join the many international voices speaking out against his incarceration, which include Amnesty International, the Committee to Protect Journalists, Reporters Without Borders, and Index on Censorship.
At 10pm on 05 August, photographer and social activist Shahidul Alam was arrested at his home in Dhaka. The next day he was charged for violating Section 57 of Bangladesh’s Information and Communication Technology Act (ICT), after giving an interview to Al Jazeera on the current wave of student protests in Bangladesh against unsafe roads, in which he said that these actions stemmed from anger about widespread government corruption. He now faces up to 14 years in prison.
According to Amnesty International, which has taken up the photographer’s plight, Section 57 is a “draconian law” that has been used against well over 1000 people since it was introduced in 2006. “Police do not need arrest warrants or official permission to prosecute,” explains the organisation. “Those accused are mostly denied bail pending their trial and kept locked up for months with no official verdict. Shahidul himself was denied bail on 10 September 2018. Those arrested are often journalists who’ve published articles criticising the government.”
Bangladeshi photographer and Drik Gallery director Shahidul Alam has reportedly been denied bail by a court in Dhaka.
Various local media outlets, including United News of Bangladesh, The Daily Star, and Bangla Tribune, have all reported that Judge KM Imrul Kayes of Dhaka Metropolitan Session Judge’s Court passed the order on 11 September. Public Prosecutor Mohammad Abu Abdullah moved against the bail petition, while Barrister Sarah Hossain stood for Alam – who filed the bail petition through his lawyers on 28 August, asking for it to be granted as he is ill.
Photographer Shahidul Alam has been imprisoned by Dhaka Metropolitan Magistrate’s Court for spreading “false and harmful information” against the government after remaining in police custody for seven days.
He was placed before authorities around 3pm on Sunday 12 August, and charged under section 57 of the Information and Communications Technology Act, Moshiur Rahman, deputy commissioner of police, told the Bangladeshi title The Daily Star. His lawyer and his family members were not informed about the court hearing.
In a letter submitted by investigating officer Mr Arman Ali, the 63-year-old was accused of giving “false and harmful information through Al-Jazeera, various electronic media, and his Facebook timeline, which led to deterioration of the law and order situation in the country, and created fear and terror in the minds of the public”.
Shahidul Alam, one of the world’s leading figures in photography, and a social activist who has been a harsh critic of the government in his native Bangladesh, has been arrested in Dhaka for making “provocative comments” following mass protests that have brought parts of the country to a standstill over the past week.
According to his partner, Rahnuma Ahmed, at least 30 plainclothes officers entered his home in the capital at around 10pm on Sunday, and sped him away in a car. He was officially arrested the next day. Alam had posted videos on Facebook and was interviewed by Qatar-based television station Al-Jazeera about the protests, which he said stemmed from anger about widespread government corruption, and not just the bus accident that initially sparked them.
Yassine Alaoui Ismaili (Morocco), Paul Botes (South Africa), Anna Boyiazis (USA), Tommaso Fiscaletti & Nic Grobler (South Africa), and Phumzile Khanyile (South Africa) are the five winners of the seventh CAP Prize. Open to photographers of any age or background, the CAP Prize is awarded to work that engages with the African continent or its diaspora.
Born in 1984 in Khouribga, Morocco, Yassine Alaoui Ismaili – aka Yoriyas – lives in Casablanca and has been awarded his prize for the series Casablanca Not the Movie (2014–2018). “It is both a love letter to the city I call home and an effort to nuance the visual record for those whose exposure to Morocco’s famous city is limited to guide book snapshots, film depictions or Orientalist fantasies,” he says.
Founded in 2012 by Swiss artist Benjamin Füglister, the Contemporary African Photography Prize aims “to raise the profile of African photography and encourage a rethinking of the image of Africa”. Open to photographers from anywhere in the world whose work engages with the African continent or its diaspora, it picks out five winners every year and shows their work at major photography festivals around the world. This year 800 photographers entered, of whom 25 have made it to the shortlist.
Twenty years ago this month, at the age of 23, Kalpana Chakma was abducted from her home in Bangladesh. She was held at gunpoint by a military officer and two members of the Village Defence Party and driven away. She has never been seen again. Chakma was the organising secretary of the Hill Women’s Federation in Bangladesh, an organisation that campaigned for the rights of indigenous people in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) area of Bangladesh. As she fought to regain the land had been stolen from her community, the Pahari people by the Bagladeshi government through the Bangladeshi army, so she was deemed an enemy of the state. No-one knows if she’s a political prisoner, celebrating her 40th birthday alone somewhere. Or whether she was killed, silently, long ago. This week, photographer and Bangladeshi activist Shahidul Alam launched an installation at East London’s Autograph ABP gallery in memory of Kalpana, and celebrating the work she so fearlessly carried out. The exhibition features portraits of ‘Kalpana’s Warriors’, contemporary Bangladeshi campaigners living in mortal danger in an increasingly repressive environment. The …