Renowned Bangladeshi photographer denied bail

Dhaka : A court here on Tuesday denied bail to renowned Bangladeshi photographer and social activist Shahidul Alam who was arrested following his criticism of the government in an interview.

Judge K.M. Imrul Kayes of Dhaka Metropolitan Session Judge's Court passed the order after hearing the bail petition filed on August 14, bdnews24.com reported.

Public Prosecutor Mohammad Abu Abdullah moved against the bail petition while Barrister Sarah Hossain stood for Alam.

The High Court on Monday directed the lower court to dispose off the petition filed by Alam.

He had filed a bail petition with the High Court on August 28 through his lawyers Sara Hossain and Jyotirmoy Barua saying he should be granted bail as he was ill.

Earlier on September 4, a judge of a two-member High Court bench said that they felt "embarrassed" to hear the bail petition in the case. The bench then forwarded the petition to the Chief Justice for a decision, the report said.

On September 5, the High Court directed the concerned authorities to provide first-class division to the photographer in jail after hearing the writ petition.

The police arrested Alam, founder of the Drik Gallery, Pathshala and the South-Asian Media Institute, on August 5, over charges of spreading rumours during a campaign for safer roads by students in Dhaka.

He gave an interview to a news channel in which he criticized the government's violent response to peaceful protest by students.

Later, the police filed a case under the Information and Communication Technology Act against Alam.

Nobel laureates Desmond Tutu, Muhammad Yunus, Amartya Sen and many others at home and abroad have demanded Alam's release, saying the government was hindering the freedom of speech.

The government, on the other hand, said Alam had "hatched a conspiracy to use the children campaigning for safer roads to create unrest in the country".