Sunday, February 22, 2009

Bangladesh: Anti-Radical, Pro-Peace Muslim Journalist Savaged in Broad Daylight

To those of us who know of Salah Uddin's brave work in countering radicalism, this is sad news indeed. Salah's ordeal has been continuing for over six years now.

 Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury Attacked by Goons:
Anti-Radical, Pro-Peace Muslim Journalist Savaged in Broad Daylight
CONTACT: Richard L. Benkin, Ph.D.; +1-847-922-6426;
e mail :
Dhaka, Bangladesh—At 10am today, local time, internationally-acclaimed journalist Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury, was attacked as he was working in the office of his newspaper, Weekly Blitz, by "a gang of thugs" claiming to be from Bangladesh's ruling Awami League.  I spoke by telephone with Choudhury as he awaited medical treatment for eye, neck, and other injuries suffered in the attack.  The renewed violence marks the first against him since he was abducted by Bangladesh's dreaded Rapid Action Battalion a year ago.
A large group stormed Blitz premises and attacked newspaper staff until they found Choudhury.  At that point, he said, "they dragged me [and two staff] into the street" where they beat them "in broad daylight…They looted my office and stole my laptop" with "all my sensitive information.  As of this writing, the attackers continue to occupy the Blitz office.
According to Choudhury, the police were impassive and seemed intimidated when the attackers emphasized their party membership and accused him of being an agent of the Israeli Mossad.  They later threatened to attack his home should Choudhury go to the police again.
Choudhury was arrested in 2003 by government agents, in cooperation with Islamist forces, because of his advocacy of relations with Israel and religious equality, and his articles exposing the rise of radical Islam in Bangladesh.  He was tortured and held for seventeen months and only released after strong pressure by human rights activist Dr. Richard Benkin and US Congressman Mark Kirk (R-IL).  In 2007, the US Congress passed a Kirk-introduced resolution 409-1 calling on Bangladesh to stop harassing Choudhury and drop capital charges against him after extensive evidence confirmed them to be false, contrary to Bangladeshi law, and as admitted by successive Bangladeshi officials, maintained only to appease Islamists.  The Bangladeshi government continues to remain in defiance of that resolution and its provisions.
For further information, contact Dr. Richard Benkin at the telephone or email above.

No comments: