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Urgent - Help Jailed Bangladesh Journalist

12/21/2003

Jailed Bangladesh journalist Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury needs your help. His is being held without bail in trying conditions, his health is failing, and he has been undergoing "interrogation" for over three weeks. He was arrested because of his attempt to travel to Israel and to speak about the role of the media in peace efforts at a conference organized by IFLAC, an Israeli and international non-government group that promotes dialog.

Additional charges of espionage and anti-religious activities may be preferred. The espionage charges relate to Choudhury's association with IFLAC. Apparently, the Bangladesh government and press decided that IFLAC is a branch of the Mossad intelligence agency. The charges concerning religion and sedition are related to Choudhury's outspoken articles about Islamism in Bangladesh.

Choudhury is suffering from glaucoma, which is not being treated in jail. He has been held since November 29 and two hearings have extended his remand for "interrogation." It is clear that he is being persecuted for his stand against Islamic radicalism.

The matter is urgent, because his next hearing is Christmas Day, December 24. Please ask authorities to intervene to grant him bail and/or urgently needed medical treatment, and to ensure fair legal procedings.

The case has been taken up by RSF (Reporters Sans Frontieres)/IFEX
and by the Committee to Protect Journalists, and was the subject of a New York Times editorial.

Please write to US congressman and senators and also to: the US Embassy in Dhakka, Bangladesh - dhaka@pd.state.gov

and to the Bangladesh Embassy in Washington DC: info@bangladoot.org 3510, International Drive NW Washington, DC 20008, USA Telephone : (202) - 244 - 0183 Fax :(202) - 244 - 5366

to Amnesty International via the Web

and to to Human Rights Watch:
350 Fifth Avenue, 34th floor New York, NY 10118-3299 USA Tel: 1-(212) 290-4700, Fax: 1-(212) 736-1300 hrwnyc@hrw.org
OR
1630 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., Suite 500 Washington, DC 20009 USA Tel:1-(202) 612-4321, Fax:1-(202) 612-4333 hrwdc@hrw.org

Salah Uddin has written from jail describing his condition and asking for help from the outside world. His letter is below.

Thank you.

Ami Isseroff


Dearest Friends, Well-wishers, Brothers and sisters:

I was arrested on 29th November 2003 for planning to visit Israel. The JOINT INTERROGATION CELL (JIC), in the name of interrogation mercilessly tortured me for consecutive 7 (seven) days.

Now they have lodged a case under PASSPORT ACT of 1973 and sought 5 more days REMAND. I am detained in a cell in Dhaka Central jail (14 Cell), which is basically made for MENTALLY INSANE PEOPLE and Drug Addicts.

I cannot sleep till deep hours of night since there is tremendous noise created by the "MAD" prisoners. My health condition has deteriorated.

Although the court ordered for proper treatment of my eyes, the jail authorities are absolutely CARELESS about it. I have serious EYE PROBLEM. I am sleeping on floor.

Bangladesh Government is planning to seize/confiscate my passport (which is already in their custody) to stop me from going abroad in future.

Authorities do not want me to speak about the ISLAMIC KINDERGARDEN nor they want me to disclose it's BAD activities. Various fundamentalists and extremist groups are investing fund, instigating and lobbying with the government to keep me detained for a long time.

Pro Saddam and Pro Al Qaeda groups are also very active against me.

If the US Government (even an under secretary) would kindly raise the issue with Bangladesh Government and demand END OF HARRASMENT on me, It would greatly help me. The message (from US) may reach Bangladesh Government latest by 23rd December 2003. For, I would be produced before the Magistrate's court on 24/12/2003.

PLEASE ALSO CREATE A PRESSURE GROUP AND (IF POSSIBLE), A FEW PEOPLE WOULD DEMONSTRATE IN FRONT OF BANGLADESH EMBASSY IN THE UNITED STATES CARRYING PLACARD DEMANDING MY IMMEDIATE RELEASE.

Government has seized all equipment from my newspaper office virtually paralyzing the office. So, I cannot continue publication of the Weekly Blitz. My family and myself are in danger and financial constraint for everyday (through my family) I have to send "FUND" to the concerned department to LESSEN the amount of torture and not to Lodge cases which could ultimately RUIN my life.

I am writing these extremely personal matters to you, Because, here in Bangladesh, I do not see anybody extending their helping hands fearing attack on them.

In jail too I received LIFE THREAT from fundamentalist prisoners and Pro Laden / Saddam prisoners.

I APPEAL TO ALL OF YOU TO KINDLY RESCUE ME AND MY FAMILY FROM THIS CRISIS AND PLEASE HALP ME TO PUSH FORWARD MY EFFORT OF ESTABLISHING PEACE AND RELATIONS OF ISRAEL WITH THE MOSLEM COUNTRIES AND ESTABLISH BETTER RELATIONS AND UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN MOSLEMS AND JEWS ARROUND THE WORLD.

Amen

Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury From: Dhaka Central Jail

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Original text copyright by the author and MidEastWeb for Coexistence, RA. Posted at MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log at http://www.mideastweb.org/log/archives/00000139.htm where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Distributed by MEW Newslist. Subscribe by e-mail to mew-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Please forward by email with this notice and link to and cite this article. Other uses by permission.

by Moderator @ 04:49 PM CST [Link]

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Replies: 3 comments

I have contacted my senators and congressman. Here are some useful links for contacting/finding your representatives (you can search by your address, state, zip code:
U.S. House of Representatives
U.S. Senate

Posted by Karen @ 12/22/2003 03:13 PM CST

Thanks!

Posted by Moderator @ 12/22/2003 09:02 PM CST

Salah's dream shall be realised.

Posted by Peter Gomes @ 12/23/2003 03:40 PM CST


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