Bangladeshi editor rearrested on same day he’s released

New York, November 10, 2011–A Bangladeshi editor was rearrested on the same day he was released on bail, as he was leaving the gate of the prison, news reports said. 

Police detained Ekramul Haque, editor of Sheershanews website and Sheersha Kagoj weekly, on extortion charges on July 31. On October 25, the High Court in the country’s capital, Dhaka, granted the journalist bail, and he was released on November 1. But he was arrested again at the gate of the jail as he was leaving, news website bdnews24 reported. 

Two weeks before Haque was detained, authorities cancelled his media accreditation and those of his nine staff members. The journalist’s imprisonment led to both Sheershanews and Sheersha Kagoj being shuttered, news reports said. His colleagues believed the extortion accusations were in connection with corruption investigations the news outlets had published on two government ministers, CPJ found.

“The legal process is highly irregular, and Ekramul Haque’s right to due process must be respected,” said Bob Dietz, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator. “The new allegations of extortion against him appear to be timed to keep him behind bars.”

Local newspaper The Daily Star reported that a tax inspector had filed a new extortion complaint the day Haque was due to go home, although the extortion was said to have occurred nearly five months before, on June 12. On Thursday, The Star reported that a court had rejected the journalist’s bail application.

A government spokesman accused the news outlets of “character assassinations of ministers and officials” at the time of Haque’s July arrest, news reports said. In the past, Sheershanews accused prominent businessmen and two government officials of corruption.