They want judicial probe into Mushtaq’s death
Previously booked under the Digital Security Act, (DSA) 2018 and the ICT Act 2006, seven people have demanded that the latest law be repealed and the other be amended for the sake of “human rights-based ethics and principles.”
They also sought a proper, acceptable and independent judicial probe into the alleged torture of writer Mushtaq Ahmed, who died in jail on February 25, to unearth the real cause his passing away.
Once done, the probe findings have to be officially made public, they said through a statement on Friday over what many critics call “two controversial laws.”
This comes amid growing protests over the death of Mushtaq, with many individually and in groups from home and abroad calling for the DSA to be scrapped. Many local organizations, too, raised their voice against the DSA.
Signed on behalf of the seven people, by Chittagong University teacher Maidul Islam, the statement also wanted the lawmen, who allegedly tortured cartoonist Ahmed Kabir Kishore, to be investigated.
The law enforcers responsible must be tried, it added. They also demanded immediate releases of all of those arrested under the DSA.
Both Mushtaq and Kishore were arrested in a case filed under the DSA. However, Kishore is now out on bail and claimed of being subjected to custodial torture.
The rest six people behind the statement are photojournalists Shahidul Alam, Shafiqul Islam Kajol, Rashtrochinta activist Didarul Bhuiyan, architect Golam Mahfuz Joardar, leftist student's leaders Maruf Hossain and Aziur Rahman Ashaf.
What the statement says
All of us, who were incarcerated under the two laws in the past few years, are concerned over Mushtaq’s death in jail, and are also fearing for those currently in jail after being arrested under the same laws. At the same time, we learnt that Kishore, following his arrest on May 2, 2020, complained of custodial tortured.
Even writer Mushtaq was given electric shocks. This is a serious crime as per the Torture and Custodial Death (Prevention) Act, 2013, and a violation of the High Court order in this regard. The state is responsible to ensure human rights of every inmate—but the latter is being killed in the custody of and subjected to physical and mental torture by the state agencies.
A law formulated by a state is to uphold and safeguard the human rights of every citizen – but the DSA is being used as a death trap or a tool of repression, instead of ensuring security. Though murderers and the looters of the taxpayers’ money secure bail, a culture of denying bail to those arrested under the DSA has been established.
When things like this happen, such a law cannot be termed fair; rather it becomes a law against the masses. The DSA is such a repressive law, which is depriving the people of their freedom of speech. From university students, teachers, artists to photographers – and even teenage school-goers faced and are still coming across its wrath.