The country's eminent citizens have condemned the arrest warrant for Prothom Alo editor Matiur Rahman and nine others in a case filed over the death due to alleged negligence of Dhaka Residential Model College student Naimul Abrar.
A total of 47 eminent citizens in a joint statement on Friday said that they consider the case as a motivated one, taking into cognizance the way important persons of the government have made statements before and after the case and the way the editor of Prothom Alo has been framed in this case.
A Dhaka court on Thursday issued an arrest warrant against 10 people, including Prothom Alo’s editor, Matiur Rahman, in the case filed regarding the death due to 'negligence' of ninth grader Naimul Abrar.
Even though the legal proceedings could have continued with issuance of a summons in this case, an arrest warrant has been issued, they said in the statement.
By issuing the arrest warrant a few hours before the weekly holiday, the opportunity to seek protection from the higher court has been significantly reduced, the eminent citizens said.
There is no way of considering this case as separate from the attacks, one after another, on freedom of expression in the country, the statement read.
The statement has been signed by Dhaka University professor emeritus Serajul Islam Choudhury, rights activists Hameeda Hossain, Sultana Kamal and Khushi Kabir, former adviser to a caretaker government M Hafiz Uddin Khan, former cabinet secretary Ali Imam Majumder, Gonoshasthaya Kendra founder Zafrullah Chowdhury, former election commissioner M Sakhawat Hossain, professor CR Abrar, professor Ali Riaz, professor Geeti Ara Nasreen, economist Debapriya Bhattacharya, TIB executive director Iftekharuzzaman, professor Anu Muhammad, jurist Shahdeen Malik, Sushasoner Jonno Nagorik secretary Badiul Alam Majumdar, lawyer ZI Khan Panna, local government expert Tofail Ahmed, professor Sumaiya Khair, professor Asif Nazrul, professor Shahnaz Huda, professor Swapan Adnan, professor Rehnuma Ahmed, lawyer Sara Hossain, Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association chief executive Syeda Rizwana Hasan, professor Firdous Azim, photographer Shahidul Alam, professor Parveen Hasan, women leaders Farida Akter and Shirin Haque, writer and researcher Maleka Begum, professor Mirza Taslima Sultana, professor Sayeed Ferdous, professor Robayet Ferdous, lawyer Jyotirmoy Barua, activists Nur Khan, Faustina Pereira, Hasibur Rahman and Hana Shams Ahmed, writer Omar Tarek Chowdhury, physician Naila Zaman Khan, development activist Zakir Hossain, journalist Golam Mortoza, writer Rezaur Rahman Lenin and Arup Rahee, and lawyers Hasnat Kaiyum and Cynthiya Farid.
Abrar, a ninth-grader, was electrocuted during the anniversary programme of Prothom Alo’s youth magazine Kishor Alo on 1 November last year on the premises of Dhaka Residential Model College.