Police arrested Robi, news editor of the Daily Inqilab, after a raid on the Dhaka offices of the paper on August 19, 2014, according to news accounts. Robi was charged with violating the country’s Information and Communication Technology Act in connection with a story published in the paper’s print edition and on its website, the report said. A court denied Robi bail in late September, according to reports. He was being held in a Dhaka jail and was reported to be in good health. His trial was pending in late year.
The story alleged that Assistant Inspector-General Pralay Kumar Joardar abused his authority in recruiting and transferring officials at police headquarters and in his selection of officers participating in U.N. peacekeeping missions, according to news reports. The story also alleged that Joardar, a member of Bangladesh’s Hindu minority and a former official under Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, had created an “unofficial Hindu league” in the police force in a predominantly Muslim country, reports said.
Joardar denied the allegations and began legal proceedings against the publisher, reporter, editor, a correspondent, and Robi, accusing them of “hurting religious sentiments” and “attempting to cause disorder within the administration,” according to news reports. Police officials said they would be arresting the others accused in connection with the story, according to news reports. It was unclear if any arrest warrants were issued.
The Daily Inqilab is aligned with Islamist parties and often publishes reports that are critical of the ruling Awami League.
Robi had also been arrested in January 2014 along with Rafiq Mohammad, the paper’s deputy chief correspondent, and Ahmed Atik, the paper’s diplomatic correspondent, and accused of violating the Information and Communication Technology Act. At the time, police seized the paper’s printing equipment and computers, and sealed off access to its printing press, reports said. The journalists were released on bail, Mainul Islam Khan, co-director of the press freedom group Bangladesh Centre for Development, Journalism and Communication, told CPJ. It was unclear whether they were charged in that case. The paper continued to publish. It was unclear how long staff were barred access to the printing press.