International organisation for protecting the rights of journalists Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), has expressed its deep disappointment with the court's order directing the authorities to further investigate the case against Prothom Alo's special correspondent Rozina Islam. Besides Transparency International (TI) termed this new development shocking.

In a tweet, CPJ on Monday said, the police investigators plead to dismiss the case filed against Prothom Alo journalist Rozina Islam. However, a Dhaka court ordered further investigation into the case. CPJ is deeply disappointed with this. This relentless harassment must come to an immediate end.

Journalist Rozina Islam was tortured and attacked on 17 May 2021 when she went to the health ministry on professional duty. She was detained for about six hours. She was later shown arrested under the age-old 'Official Secrets Act'. After investigating the case, the Intelligence Branch (DB) of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police submitted the final report to the court in July last year. The report requested to acquit Rozina Islam from the case stating no evidence was found to support the allegations against her.

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Shibbir Ahmed Osmani, the plaintiff in this case and a joint secretary of the ministry, appearing before the court on Monday said that he would file a 'naraji' petition (petition rejecting the report) against the final report submitted in the case he filed.

Transparency International said in a tweet, for her corruption investigations in Bangladesh, Rozina Islam has faced police inquiries over the Official Secrets Act. She was found not guilty 7 months ago, but in a surprising development today, pressure from the Ministry of Health caused the court to re-open the case. The Berlin-based organisation said journalists should be free to work without fear of attack. They urged the government to ensure a fair investigation free from undue influence from other parties.

Journalist Rozina Islam received the Free Press Award 2021 as the ‘Most Resilient Journalist’. She also received ‘Anti-Corruption Champions Award’ of 2022, conferred by the US State Department on 9 December, last year.

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