Bangla-journalist picked up by army-led joint forces

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Dhaka, May 11 (UNI) The army-led joint forces picked up a journalist of a leading English Daily Star from his house here early today for questioning as he allegedly sent some SMS outside Bangladesh recently.

Tasneem Khalil, an editorial assistance of the daily, was picked up by the joint forces along with his passport, all documents, desktop computers, notepads, piles of paper and CDs, his wife Suchi said.

Khalil, was also working for US-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) and as official representative of CNN.

Daily Star Editor Mahfuz Anam said ''Following his questioning, I contacted the authorities concerned and was informed that him being questioned was not due to his journalistic work and had nothing to do with his functions at the Daily Star.'' He said ''In fact, it was because of the contents of his personal blog and some SMSs he had sent recently, where views were expressed which were completely his own and had nothing to do with his work at this paper.'' Anam said ''Following my discussions with the authorities and because of the caretaker government's commitment to the policy of freedom of the media, it was agreed that he would be released tonight.'' Human Rights Watch voiced its concern about Khalil and demanded his immediate release. ''We are extremely concerned about Tasneem Khalil's safety,'' Brad Adams, Asia Director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement.

CNN reported that late last year, Khalil worked on an HRW report about the elite Bangladeshi security forces and its alleged participation in torture and extrajudicial killings, said HRW press director Emma Daly.


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