Mahmudur on ‘hunger strike’

Amar Desh Acting Editor Mahmudur Rahman went on a hunger strike three days ago over three demands, his lawyers and close associates said on Wednesday.

Published : 17 April 2013, 10:10 AM
Updated : 17 April 2013, 10:10 AM

The demands include withdrawal of the case filed against his mother Mahmuda Begum and the Editor of Daily Sangram, the release of 19 press workers arrested from Al-Falah Printing Press and allowing the publication of Amar Desh.

A Dhaka court on Wednesday sent Mahmudur to jail when police produced him before it on completion of his five-day remand in the case filed for unlawful publication of reports on the alleged Skype conversation between former International Crimes Tribunal chairman Justice M Nizamul Huq and an expatriate Bangladeshi legal expert, Ahmed Ziauddin, last year.

It led to the resignation of the judge.

Mahmudur did not appeal for bail.

His counsels informed the court that Mahmudur went on the hunger strike during the police remand three days ago, and that he would also continue the strike in jail.

Convener of the Nagorik Odhikar Rakhya Committee and columnist Farhad Mazhar, who is against the Shahbagh uprising and has stood by Mahmudur, told a press conference at the National Press Club that the Bengali daily’s Acting Editor went on the hunger strike on Apr 15.

Police on Apr 11 arrested Mahmudur at his Karwanbazar office on charge of sedition and publishing reports on Skype conversation. He was also sued under the Information and Communication Technology Act 2006.

Later in the night, police raided the press of the BNP-leaning daily in the city’s Tejgaon and sealed it off.

Police seized 6,000 printed copies of Amar Desh from Al-Falah Printing Press of the Daily Sangram in city’s Mogbazar on Saturday night. Nineteen press workers were also detained during the raid.

The Editor and Publisher of Jamaat-e-Islami mouthpiece Sangram, Abul Asad, was sued on Apr 14 on charges of illegally printing copies of Amar Desh in his press, police say.

Amar Desh’s Publication Division’s Acting Chairman Mahmuda Begum, also Mahmudur’s mother, was also implicated in the case filed under the Printing Presses and Publications (Declaration and Registration) Act, 1973.

Farhad Mazhar told the press conference, “Mahmudur Rahman didn’t seek bail. He has said that he will continue the hunger strike until death if the three demands aren’t met.”

Mahmudur’s lawyers Sanaullah Miah and Masud Ahmed Talukder told the court that Mahmudur did not take anything except water in the last three days.

As he fell sick during the police remand, he was produced before the Court of Chief Metropolitan Magistrate on Wednesday. Judge Shahidul Islam ordered him into jail.

The jail authorities were also ordered to provide Mahmudur with proper treatment and first class division.

Speakers at the press conference urged for Mahmudur’s treatment outside the jail.

Ruhul Amin Gazi, President of a faction of Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists (BFUJ), said, “I’m urging all the local and foreign human rights activists and organisations to protest against the violation of human rights by this government.”