Rohingya Photojournalist Released on Bail from Bangladesh Prison, Still Faces Charges

A Burmese photojournalist has been released on bail from a Bangladeshi prison, but he still faces charges and up to three years in prison.

Bangladeshi authorities arrested Abul Kalam, Dec. 28 as he was photographing buses taking Rohingyas from the Kutupalong camp to a new camp on the island of Bhasan Char.

In an appearance in court Dec. 31, officials charged Kalam, a Rohingya refugee, with assaulting and interfering with public officials, charges that could carry a three-year prison sentence, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) reported.

RSF says the real reason for Kalam’s arrest was “the local authorities are annoyed by his coverage of their handling of the Rohingya refugee issue, in particular, the forced transfer of the refugees to Bhasan Char.”

The group is calling for all charges against Kalam to be dropped.

In early December the Bangladesh government began sending some Rohingya refugees to Bhasan Char island, despite calls from human rights groups to halt the process.

Government officials say relocating the Rohingya refugees to Bhasan Char will ease overcrowding in the camps, which were set up to accommodate the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya, a Muslim minority that fled violence in neighboring Myanmar in 2017.

 

Source: Voice of America