Abul Asad, the Editor of one of the oldest national newspapers in Bangladesh was attacked by a group of government party zealots in his own office and later arrested by the police on 13 December 2019. Since then, he has been locked up in the prison facing trial for sedition.
In Bangladesh, the draconian Digital Security Act is used by the government to silence any opposing views. This preposterous and tyrannical law has been condemned by various international human rights organisations including the Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. However, the Bangladeshi government has chosen to disregard any criticism and to continue its oppression.
Abul Asad is one of the leading intellectuals of the country. This 78-year old Editor is also a prolific writer who has authored several important books on politics, history, religion and so on. He is known in the country as a mentor of many renown journalists.
He was denied bail during the first hearing at the court in December 2019 and was sent to prison.
According to the Bangladeshi prison law, he is eligible for some facilities such as books, newspapers, bed, chair and table and so on inside the prison cell as an Editor of a national newspaper. However, the government mechanism did not grant him any of those facilities intentionally, rather he has been treated as a general prisoner in an inhumane system continued from its colonial tradition.
All appeals by his lawyers regarding this matter were denied without any explanation.
The fragile health of this 78-year old Editor has been since deteriorating, he is now suffering from hearing loss, blood pressure, severe weakness and other health issues.
His family members and lawyers have applied several times over the last 7 months requesting his medical treatment in the prison hospital but in vain.
It seems that the government is determined to let him die in the prison cell without any medical care only because his newspaper published news that was not accepted by the government.
It’s a shame in this 21st century that such an intellectual scholar is suffering by a fascist regime where the rest of the world choose to remain silent and ignore this matter.