CPJ calls for further investigation into death of Bangladeshi reporter

New York, March 23, 2007—The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Bangladeshi authorities to thoroughly investigate the death of Jamal Uddin, an independent reporter in the southeastern district of Rangamati.

Jamal Uddin, 25, went missing on March 5, and his body was found the next day in the outskirts of his hometown Kathaltala, according to news reports. Local journalists have questioned a March 18 autopsy report by the Rangamati District Hospital that determined his death a suicide by hanging. Colleagues said that Jamal Uddin’s body showed injuries to his face and body that appeared inconsistent with suicide. It is unclear on what issues he was reporting before his death.

“We are concerned by the reports of Jamal Uddin’s colleagues that cast doubt on the official version of his death as suicide,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. “We call on Bangladesh national authorities to conduct a thorough and speedy investigation into his death.”

Local police said an audio tape found on the reporter’s body recorded his message of frustration with his profession and distress at his colleagues’ teasing, according to a report by the Dhaka-based Bangladesh Centre for Development, Journalism and Communication (BCDJC). But local journalists’ requests to hear the tape have been refused, they told BCDJC.

Rangamati Press Club and Rangamati Reporters’ Unity have petitioned the national government to punish the journalists’ killers, and have called for the case to be transferred to a different police unit.

Jamal Uddin was a correspondent for local news agency ABAS and local daily Bainik Giri Darpan, as well as Bogra-based dailies Dainik Bartaman Bangla and Dainik Karatoa.