Renowned photographer and human rights activist Shahidul Alam is allegedly tortured in DB custody: ASK expresses grave concern

Renowned Photographer and Human Rights Activist Shahidul Alam allegedly Tortured in DB Custody: Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK) Expresses Grave Concern
Internationally acclaimed Senior Photographer, Managing Director of Drik Gallery and Human Rights activist Shahidul Alam made an allegation in the High Court that he is being tortured in Detective Branch (DB) custody after being arrested from his residence on the night of 05 August 2018. Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK) expresses grave concerns against such allegations.
According to media sources, photographer Shahidul Alam was picked up by men wearing plain clothes from his residence in Dhanmondi area of the Capital on the night of 05 August. In an immediate response, the law enforcing agencies denied their involvement in such incidence. On 06 August, almost 21 hours after being detained, he was shown to be arrested under the highly controversial Section 57 of the Information and Communication (ICT) Act for allegedly spreading rumours and false information in the social and electronic media. On the same evening, he was brought before the court of Dhaka Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate and, the police sought for a 10-day remand. Shahidul Alam made allegations in the court that he has been physically tortured in the custody. The court, thus, approved of a 7-day remand. It shall be noted that the arrest and torture of Shahidul Alam is contradictory to the directives of the High Court given in 2016, regarding the amendments of Sections 54 and 167 of the Code of Criminal Procedure involving arrest without warrant and interrogation during remand. Even though, this 2016 directive directed for the formation of a Medical Board by the Court when an allegation of custodial torture against the police is made, such directive has not been followed in case of Shahidul Alam.
Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK) is urging the law enforcing agencies to ensure that no violation of the High Court directives will take place. Besides, ASK would also like to remind that Article 35 (5) of the Constitution of Bangladesh protects a person from torture, cruel, inhuman, or degrading punishment or treatment. Moreover, Bangladesh is also signatories to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Convention against Torture.