Two foreign journalists released; Bangladeshi journalists still detained

New York, December 11, 2002—The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) welcomes today’s release of journalists Bruno Sorrentino and Zaiba Malik, who were working on a documentary for Britain’s Channel 4 “Unreported World” series.

However, CPJ demands the immediate release of Bangladeshi free-lance journalists Priscilla Raj and Saleem Samad, who were working for the documentary team as interpreters and are still detained in the capital, Dhaka.

Bangladesh’s junior foreign minister Riaz Rahman said during a press conference this afternoon that Sorrentino, who was traveling on an Italian passport, and Malik, who is British, were to be deported from the country later today. Rahman also said that both journalists had signed statements saying they would not produce any reports from their footage gathered in Bangladesh and “expressing regret for the unfortunate situation arising since their arrival in Bangladesh,” according to a BBC report.

Priscilla Raj was arrested along with Sorrentino and Malik on November 25. Samad, a prominent free-lance reporter and the local representative for the Paris-based press freedom organization Reporters Sans Frontières, was arrested on November 29. Both, who are accused of sedition, are currently being held in Dhaka Central Jail.

Please click here to read CPJ’s November 26 press release.