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Rohingya photographer Abul Kalam released from jail

  • Published at 02:19 pm January 6th, 2021
Abul Kalam
File photo of Rohingya photographer Abul Kalam Courtesy

Rohingya refugee Kalam granted bail on Monday

Award-winning Rohingya photographer Abul Kalam has been released from jail.

Kalam and some others were handed over to the camp by the law enforcement personnel at 1pm Wednesday, Cox's Bazar Deputy Jail Superintendent Monir Hossain confirmed Dhaka Tribune.

Talking to Dhaka Tribune earlier in the day, Kalam's lawyer Firujul Alam complained that his client was still being held in jail despite securing bail.

“He (Kalam) has been granted bail and the order of his release signed by the concerned magistrate is already with the jail authorities. But, he has not yet been released due to some procedural issues,” he said on Wednesday noon.   

A senior Judicial Magistrate Court in Ukhiya, Cox’s Bazar granted Kalam, who resides in a Rohingya camp, bail on Monday six days after his arrest.

“The jail authorities have said that Kalam will be shifted to his place of residence alone. He will be shifted with a group of Rohingyas,” Alam said.

When asked if the delay in releasing a detainee after securing bail is a contempt of court, he said, “Yes, it is. But, this case is different as the court granting him bail verbally ordered to take him in a secure manner so that he cannot go anywhere other than the camp.”

“The bail was granted by the court on Monday. As per procedure, the camp chairman of the respective camp where he resides needs to come to the jail to sign the documents on his release, which was not done on Monday,” said Shafiur Rahman, a journalist and a documentary filmmaker.

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Abul Kalam was detained on December 28 when he was photographing the buses leaving the Kutupalong camps with Rohingyas for being relocated on Bhashan Char Island.

Under Bangladesh’s laws, a person in custody must be produced in court within 24 hours of being taken under arrest, but that was not the procedure followed in Abul Kalam’s case.

He was shown arrested in a case filed with Ukhiya Police Station on June 1 in which Kalam was accused of assaulting public servants and obstructing them from discharging their duties.

Abul Kalam, 35, has been a refugee himself for 28 years. He originally came from Borgozbil, Maungdaw, Myanmar. He is a prolific photographer and has documented refugee life in recent years.

His images have appeared in many publications, and he recently won two prizes in the Rohingya Photography Competition.