In Bangladesh, investigative reporter beaten in custody

New York, October 26, 2007—A Bangladeshi journalist arrested Tuesday has been beaten in jail, his wife told the Committee to Protect Journalists. Jahangir Alam Akash was arrested at his home in Rajshahi on extortion charges.

Akash was taken to the prison hospital on Thursday with leg injuries, his wife told local journalist Shahriar Kabir and press freedom advocate Mainul Islam Khan. Akash, who could not stand unassisted and had visible abrasions on his face, told his wife that an official from the Rapid Action Battalion, an elite anticrime and antiterrorism force under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Home Affairs, had beaten him the previous night, Khan told CPJ.

“We condemn the treatment Akash has received while in custody and call for his immediate release,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. “We call on prison authorities to carry out an investigation and punish those responsible for this mistreatment.”

Local journalists have been vocal in their support of Akash, a reporter with the daily Dainik Sangbad and the leader of the Rajshahi Union of Journalists. Akash denies the charges against him. He was still in the hospital on Friday evening and had not yet appeared in court.