Washington Post publishes ad calling to free Kishore from charges

An advertisement published in Washington Post on 9 April, 2020

Washington Post, the respected news daily of the US, on 9 April published a full-page advertisement calling on the Bangladesh government to drop charges against freelance cartoonist Ahmed Kabir Kishore.

Washington Post facilitated the advertisement in collaboration with a non-profit organisation Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

In its Twitter handle, Washington Post confirmed the matter.

With a portrait of Kishore, the advertisement says, ‘Criticism, commentary and cartoons are not a crime.’ It continues, ‘Freelance cartoonists Kabir Kishore has been accused of violating Bangladesh’s Digital Security Act and publishing “false or offensive information.” Bangladeshi authorities should drop the charges and repeal the Digital Security Act now.’

Kabir was shown arrested on 5 May 2020 in a case filed by Rapid Action Battalion. After being released on bail, Kabir alleged that some 16-17 men in plainclothes abducted him on 2 May. At an undisclosed location, he had been tortured and grilled for the cartoons he drew. Later on 5 May, he found himself at the RAB office where writer Mushtaq Ahmed was also present.

The case filed with Ramna police station accused 11 people including Kishore and Mushtaq. Mushtaq died in police custody on 25 February this year.

After languishing in jail for 10 months, Kishore was granted a 6-month bail and released on 4 March.