They called upon the authorities concerned to guarantee Rozina Islam adequate time and facilities to prepare a defence, ensuring a substantive assessment of the charges brought against her during the next court date on 2 March 2022.
These organisations urged the government either to repeal the Official Secrets Act or revise it to bring it in line with international law and standards.
Rozina Islam has received this year’s Free Press Award for courageous journalism. She won the award in the ‘Most Resilient Journalist’ category.
This award is given by the Amsterdam-based organisation Free Press Unlimited. Rozina Islam could not attend the award giving programme at the Hague as police in Bangladesh seized her passport.
On 17 May last year, journalist Rozina Islam was harassed while carrying out her professional duties at the health ministry. She had been confined to the ministry for about six hours. She was shown arrested under a century-old Official Secrets Act later and sent to jail.
After five days, Rozina Islam was released from jail on bail. Demonstrations were held at home and abroad protesting against torture and case against Rozina Islam. Various local and foreign organisations also issued protest.
Though Rozina Islam was released on bail, the case against her has not been withdrawn as yet. Her passport, mobile phone and accreditation card used to carry out professional duty at the secretariat have also not been returned.