Earlier, Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) personnel arrested writer Mushtaq Ahmed and cartoonist Ahmed Kabir Kishore from their respective homes in Kakrail and Lalmatia areas on 5 May, 2020 on charges of spreading disinformation against the government on social media.

A case was filed under the Digital Security Act against them and nine others with the Ramna Police Station on charge of posting anti-government remarks on Facebook. Later, a court sent cartoonist Kishore and writer Mushtaq to jail in the case.

Calls for Mushtaq's release were widespread and sustained throughout his time in prison. Soon after his arrest, more than 300 dignitaries in Bangladesh issued a joint statement demanding his release, alongside cartoonist Ahmed Kishore.

Amnesty International reiterated the demand in a statement in January, saying the duo (Kishore and Mushtaq) had been arrested "solely for the peaceful exercise of their right to freedom of expression”.

Writer Mushtaq Ahmed, 53, died on 25 February in Kashimpur Jail, Gazipur, leading to a huge outcry on social media platforms and protests by student bodies in Dhaka.