The recent custodial death of writer Mustaq Ahmed on 25th February, 2021 has once again proved the autocratic nature of the Awami League in Bangladesh. The 53 year old writer had been incarcerated under the draconian Digital Security Act (DSA) for more than 9 months without any charges. The DSA has been condemned by human rights and political activists for curbing freedom of speech as the law has been used to arrest and detain journalists, cartoonists, writers, and activists en masse since it was inacted in 2018.
Thus, the culpability for the recent death of Mustaq Ahmed can only be placed at the door of the Sheikh Hasina government. As student protests erupted across Bangladesh against his death, the government instead of ensuring the right to freedom of assembly has further cracked down on protestors. A protest on 26th February was brutally attacked by police with more than 30 activists critically injured. Additionally seven protestors of the Bangladesh Students’ Union and other organizations were arrested and remain detained on false charges.
We are appealing to comrades across the world to speak out against the detention of political prisoners in Bangladesh and call for the immediate release of the seven arrested protestors. We call for you to send statements of solidarity, written or video, to speak against this state of terror prevailing in Bangladesh.
Mahmood Sadaat Ruhul
International Affairs Department
Garments Workers Trade Union Center (GWTUC)