AUGUST 9, 2005
Posted: August 17, 2005
Manjur Morshed, Jugantor
In the southern city of Baufal, witnesses told local reporters and CPJ sources that a large group of cadres from the ruling Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) abducted Morshed from a local college at noon and forcibly escorted him to a nearby office where he was beaten. Local sources identified the man who attacked him as former Member of Parliament and local BNP leader Shahidul Alam Talukder, and said that local administration officials witnessed the assault.
An article detailing Talukder’s alleged involvement in the looting of a protected species of fish, featuring Morshed’s reporting, appeared in Jugantor on August 8.
Local newspapers reported the journalist missing after the attack. His abductors released him later that evening, according to local news reports.
Speaking to The Daily Star in the capital Dhaka on August 10, Talukder denied physically assaulting Morshed and said that his party did not believe in terrorist tactics. But he added, “It does not mean that we will tolerate everything done in the name of freedoms of press and speech.”
Talukder told local journalists on August 9 that he would shut down the Baufal Press Club and build a BNP office in its place. The Daily Star reported that journalists who attempted to open the press club offices were chased away by BNP cadres who threatened to attack them.
Local journalists have filed a complaint with police, and many fled the area in response to reported threats from BNP cadres. Family members of some reporters received threats that they would be prosecuted on trumped-up charges, The Daily Star reported.