Rozina Islam, a journalist with leading Bangla newspaper Prothom Alo who is known for her investigative reporting on corruption in the health sector during the pandemic, was arrested on 17 May 2021.
She was detained following a visit to the Ministry of Health where officials claimed that she took pictures of documents on coronavirus vaccines with her mobile phone. Police confiscated her phone, passport, and other personal belongings. Islam said on Twitter that she was also subject to physical violence.
The next day, a court denied Rozina Islam’s release on bail and ruled to keep her in detention until a next hearing, which was rescheduled for 23 May 2021. Islam was ultimately released after seven days in jail on a conditional bail. Her passport, mobile phone and accreditation card used to carry out professional duty were withheld.
She has been charged with the theft and photographing of sensitive state documents under the Penal Code and the outdated 1923 Official Secrets Act, charges that could lead to 14 years in prison or even the death penalty.