Release Satkhira journo from jail
The Committee to Protect Journalists has demanded the immediate release of Deepto TV journalist Raghunath Kha from jail.
In a statement issued last night, the international rights organisation alleged that Raghunath was electrocuted and beaten up in police custody.
Raghunath, Shatkhira correspondent of the private broadcaster Deepto TV and newspaper Dainik Projonmo Ekattor, was detained by plainclothes police officials around 11:00am on Monday.
"Kha was detained after reporting on a land dispute in Khalishakhali area of the southwestern Satkhira district," the CPJ statement said.
Citing sources, it said police arrested Raghunath and two others over allegations of their involvement in an attempt to explode bombs in coordination with the local landless people, adding that the authorities concerned initially denied he was in custody.
"When the journalist appeared in court the following day, he was unable to stand properly and said that police severely beat him, electrocuted him and threatened to kill him if he continued reporting on the landless people," the statement said.
Speaking to The Daily Star, Raghunath's wife Supriya Rani Kha said, "When he saw me in the courtroom, he put his arms around me through the bars of the cell and started crying like never before. He told me -- and the full court -- that the police had electrocuted his earlobes for half an hour. They also repeatedly hit the back of his head with a baton."
Raghunath was also charged with sabotage and extortion in cases filed with Debhata Police Station.
Our correspondent confirmed that the journalist was reporting on a land dispute between the landless people and other quarters over 1,320 bighas of land, which is reportedly government-owned khas land.
Raghunath went to report when the two groups clashed; he was picked up by the cops on his way back.
"For seven whole hours, the police refused to admit they had Raghunath. I searched for him in all the police stations," said Supriya.
In the statement, Beh Lih Yi, CPJ's Asia program coordinator, said, "Bangladeshi authorities' arrest and alleged maltreatment of journalist Raghunath Kha constitute only the latest attack on press freedom in the country, where law enforcement continues to retaliate against journalists with raging impunity.
"Authorities must immediately and unconditionally release Kha, drop all cases against him, and conduct a swift investigation into claims that police physically abused him."
The statement further said Raghunath had earlier submitted a harassment complaint against Shatkhira Police Superintendent Kazi Moniruzzaman to Moinul Haque, the deputy inspector-general of the Khulna division police.