Pinaki, Mushfique sued under Digital Security Act in Dhaka

Pinaki, Mushfique sued under Digital Security Act in Dhaka

Special correspondent

A case has been filed against France-based writer and online activist Dr Pinaki Bhattacharya and US-based internationally acclaimed Bangladeshi journalist Mushfiqul Fazal (Ansari) on charges of maligning image of the country under Digital Security Act in Dhaka.

The Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) department of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) filed the case with Ramna Police Station on 15 October. Another Mofizur Rahman also named as accused in the case.

KM Abdullahill Maruf, sub-inspector of Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit, filed the case against Pinaki and two others with Ramna Police Station on October 15 this year. The matter came to light on Thursday .The two other accused are -- Mofizur Rahman and Mushfiqul Fazal (Ansari). Following the case, police arrested Mofizur and he is in jail now and police showed Mushfiqul as ‘absconded’.

Human rights activist and eminent writer Dr Pinaki has written about 17 books. He is a vocal against the misrule, oppression and violations of human rights conducted by the ruling Awami League government. He criticises the misdeeds, corruptions of the government and highlights contemporary issues through his writing and YouTube channel. He is also a renowned doctor.

Mushfiqul Fazal, also the editor of the Just News BD, is an internationally acclaimed journalist and human rights activist. Awami League government blocked his news portal in 2015 in Bangladesh. They are trying to harass him in many ways for his fearless, neutral and investigative journalism. Besides the country, Mushfique is always vocal against the current authoritarian regime of Bangladesh and raising issues like democracy, voting rights, freedom of expression, extrajudicial killing, refugee crisis and climate change at the UN, US and international arena.

A good number of government controlled media have published reports on this case just quoting the information supplied by the police. They did not take any comments from those who have been made purposely accused in police’s charges and finally published one-sided news. According to the Bengali daily, Prothom Alo, Deputy Commissioner (DC) of DMP’s media wing Md Faruque Hossain alleged that Pinaki had been involved in an anti-government campaign staying in France. If his details are available, he would be brought back from France through Interpol. According to the case statement, CTTC on 14 October noticed a Facebook status posted by Pinaki. The post spread misinformation about the police force, he alleged.

Police arrested Mofizur Rahman from his residence in the city’s Pallabi area over the Facebook post. The law enforcers also seized two mobile phones of Mofizur. According to the case documents, Mofizur is a resident of Khudukkhali village of Bashkhali in Chattogram. Two cases were filed against him with Motijheel Police Station in Dhaka.

Meanwhile, Dr Pinaki Bhattacharya told Just News that “The Hasina government has gone mad with the ongoing political agitation and economic crisis. Hasina’s fascist regime has destroyed economy of Bangladesh, leaving the country on the brink of famine.”

He further said, “The draconian Digital Security Act has already been enforced against those who speak out against this monstrous misrule. In continuation of this strategy, we were sued.”

Opposition to government is a political right, said writer Pinaki adding that “Hasina-led government considers this political right as a criminal act.”

About the case and allegations brought against him, Mushfiqul told this Just News correspondent that “I am not surprised at all. This is the way in which the Bangladesh regime is controlling freedom of expression. Everyone, including children, students, political activists and journalists are becoming the victims of this draconian Digital Security Act (DSA) in Bangladesh.”

He said, “The government is continuously violating the human rights in the country even after criticism from international human rights bodies. I don’t know about Mofizur but I would always stand for his right to freedom of expression. And, Dr Pinaki is well known both at home and abroad. He was forced to leave the country amid the fear of enforced disappearance by law enforcement agencies of Bangladesh, and now is in exile in Paris. He is doing freelance journalism from abroad and a critic of the current regime of Bangladesh. Thousands of subscribers follow him on YouTube and FB page. It is the government who framed this activist and me in politically motivated charges to fulfill its evil desire of vengeance.”

Referring to a report which has published on the Bengali daily Manabzamin, Mushfiqul Fazal further said, “Just I read a report that Bangladesh police have filed a case against a two-year-old-boy under DSA. So how can I deserve justice from a corrupt regime like this?”

Mushfiqul said the accusations brought against him and other journalists were not only false and fabricated but also extremely defamatory.