Rushanara Ali MP’s statement on student protests in Dhaka, Bangladesh

Thousands of Bangladeshi high school students have been protesting in Dhaka, Bangladesh following the death of two teenagers who were killed by a speeding bus on 29 July. The demonstrators have been demanding justice for the teenagers, as well as calling for stricter enforcement of traffic laws.

Shahidul Alam, the internationally acclaimed photographer, has also been arrested following an interview on the unrest, and charged under Bangladesh’s Information Communications Technology Act.

Rushanara Ali MP said:

“It is deeply concerning that following student protests seeking better road safety in Dhaka, there have been violent clashes leading to many fatalities. I welcome the Bangladeshi Government’s recognition of the need to improve road safety, and hope that progress will follow as a matter of urgency.

Incidents of unlawful or disproportionate violence or action against protestors and journalists must be brought to an end. The right to peaceful protest and free speech should be protected, and the perpetrators of violence should be held to account.

I have received numerous representations from my constituents, who are friends of Mr Shahidul Alam, seeking assistance following his arrest and calling for his immediate release. Mr Alam is well-known in the wider British Bangladeshi community for his photography, having held many exhibitions in the UK, including in schools and the Rich Mix Arts Centre in my constituency, along with other national institutions.

We are very concerned about his safety and wellbeing, and urge the Government of Bangladesh to recognise his right to free speech and fair treatment.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

1) For further information or comment please contact Rushanara Ali MP’s Office on 020 7219 7200 or email rushanara.ali.mp@parliament.uk

Showing 5 reactions

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  • Thush Gunatunga
    commented 2018-08-11 10:36:03 +0100
    In response to Washim Talukder’s post

    Shahidul Alam never said that ‘protestors were being murdered and girls were being raped’…these are the allegations of someone who is deliberately distorting the truth. In terms of the elections, the official version of the US Government (besides EU,UK and UN) was that the election “did not appear to credibly express the will of the Bangladeshi people” in an election where 60% of the candidates were unopposed and thus did not have to face the vote, with an overall turnout of 20%. This post is in itself a classic example of disinformation and it also says ‘He deserve this situation and govt should interogate him properly’, thus condoning state sponsored abduction, torture and suspension of basic human rights.
  • Rachel Spence
    commented 2018-08-10 10:22:52 +0100
    Shahidul Alam is an extraordinary photo-journalist, teacher and artist. He is also one of the kindest, most generous people I have ever met. His life has been dedicated to helping others, exposing injustice and telling truth to power. Thank you for supporting him, Rushanara.
    In solidarity, Rachel
  • lyndall stein
    commented 2018-08-10 09:12:24 +0100
    I have worked with Shahidul Alam for over 25 years on many issues including the impact of HIV/AIDS , the Pakistan earthquake and most recently to highlight the terrible situation of the Rohingya people, he is an man of exceptional integrity and intelligence as well as a visionary photographer and campaigner.He deserves our support , we will be gathering today Friday at 4pm outside the Bangladeshi High Comission to Stand Up for Shahidul!
  • Washim Talukder
    commented 2018-08-10 07:15:26 +0100
    Shahidul Alam is a renound photographer but this doesn’t gaurantee that he can spread false information during a unrest. He was coming to facebook live and saying protesters were being murdered and girls were being raped. But where are those dead bodies now? How can he tell the AlJajeera that this govt is unelected? Where there was a election. He can say it was a questionable election without a proper opposition party. Moreober he was spreading rumors and tried to transform the road safely unrest to anti govt protest. He deserve this situation and govt should interogate him properly to know who was the mastermind behind this false rumors spreading and what was his intention.
  • Sofia Karim
    commented 2018-08-09 15:44:10 +0100
    This is wonderful. Thank you to Rushanara Ali MP, for formally denouncing state repression in Bangladesh and the imprisonment of Shahidul Alam. The British Bangladeshi community is extremely troubled by the grave Human Rights, anti-democratic situation in Bangladesh.