British artists demand Shahidul’s release

British artists demand Shahidul’s release

Dhaka, Sep 3 (Just News): Leading British artists and curators have joined in the demand for release of internationally-famed photographer Shahidul Alam, The Guardian reports.

His niece, architect Sofia Karim, who lives in Britain, has garnered signatures from 47 leading names in the art world in just a week for the cause.

“Alam’s crime, we are told, is to have contravened the Information and Communication Technology Act. Described as ‘draconian’ by Human Rights Watch, the act has become an infamous means of clamping down on freedom of expression in Bangladesh,” the letter reads.

Leading curators, such as the Tate’s Frances Morris, Nicholas Cullinan, the director of London’s National Portrait Gallery, Sarah Munro, director of Gateshead’s Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, and Sophie Wright of Magnum Photos, have also put their names behind the cause. “Freedom of speech, artistic expression and talking truth to power are vital barometers of civilisation. Whatever is done to one person against these central pillars of a fair and tolerant society is done to all of us,” said Cullinan.
“I always felt that artists would sign the letter, but it’s been very heartening that leaders of our largest cultural institutions have also publicly supported my uncle so warmly, simply from our personal appeals,” said Karim.

Plainclothes men picked up Shahidul from his Dhanmondi flat on August 5 soon after he gave an interview to Al-Jazeera.


He was charged with making “provocative comments” under section 57 of the Information and Communication Technology Act and placed on a seven-day remand. He was initially denied access to a lawyer and was allegedly beaten up by law enforcers.

He was sent to jail on August 12 and remanded.