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UN expresses concern over arrest of Rozina Islam

  • Staff Correspondent,
    Published: 2021-05-19 14:00:50 BdST

Police take Prothom Alo reporter Rozina Islam back to jail after a court rejected their petition to interrogate her over allegations of stealing government documents and photographing them on Tuesday, May 18, 2021. The court has set Thursday for her bail hearing. Photo: Prokash Biswas

The United Nations has expressed its concern over the arrest of Rozina Islam, the Prothom Alo senior reporter who has been taken into custody over a case under the Official Secrets Act.

“Our position has been clear,” Stéphane Dujarric, spokesperson for UN Secretary General António Guterres, said in a press briefing on Tuesday.

“Journalists need to be able to do their work free of any sort of harassment or physical threat anywhere around the world.”

“And, obviously, that includes Bangladesh and every other country,” Dujarric said.

Dujarric said the UN had seen the reports on the incident and would continue to observe the situation.

The Prothom Alo senior correspondent was confined inside a room of the Secretariat in Dhaka for more than five hours on Monday before being turned over to the police.

“It is, obviously, something that we are looking at. It is something that's concerning,” Dujarric said.

Rozina was accused of spiriting away “important” documents and taking photos of the papers, but she denied any wrongdoing. Her family rather alleged she was harrassed during the confinement.

A Dhaka court on Tuesday turned down a police plea to interrogate Rozina in their custody.

The court will hear her appeal for bail on Thursday amid protests and widespread criticism of the government for arresting her.