Forty-seven prominent citizens of the country have expressed concern over the issuance of arrest warrants against 10 people, including Prothom Alo's editor Matiur Rahman.
A Dhaka court on January 16 issued the warrant in a case filed against the negligent death of Dhaka Residential Model College student Naimul Abrar.
In a statement yesterday, the 47 prominent citizens said, "It seems that the way the important people of different levels of government have spoken before and after the case has been filed, and the way Prothom Alo's editor was involved in the case, have been done under influence by other parties."
They think that the arrest warrants, in addition to having limited the opportunity for the accused to seek remedy to the High Court, have been issued despite the summons in this case, only a few hours before the weekend holiday.
The prominent citizens said that there is no point in separating the case from the injuries being inflicted on the country due to the oppression o freedom of speech. They demanded that the Prothom Alo editor, including everyone accused in this case, be given full legal remedy and the right to have full-fledged justice.
At the same time, they urged everyone to refrain from trying to use such a case to intentionally block the freedom of speech and the press.
The signatories to the statement are Emeritus Professor Sirajul Islam Chowdhury; human rights activist Hamida Hossain; former caretaker government advisers M Hafizuddin Khan and Sultana Kamal; former cabinet secretaries Ali Imam Majumdar; Gonoshasthaya Kendra founder Jafrullah Chowdhury; former election commissioner M Shakhawat Hossain; Professor Ali Riaz; Professor Geeti Ara Nasrin; Economist Devpriya Bhattacharya; TIB Executive Director Iftekharuzzaman; Professor Anu Muhammad; lawyer Shahidin Malik; Shushashoner Jonno Nagorik editor Badiul Alam Majumder; lawyer ZI Khan Panna; local government expert Tofayel Ahmed; development worker Khushi Kabir; Professor Sumaiya Khayer; Professor Asif Nazrul; Professor Shahnaz Huda; Professor Swapan Adnan; Professor Rehnuma Ahmed; Barrister Sara Hossain; Environmental Lawyer Syeda Rizwana Hassan; Professor Ferdous Azim; Photographer Shahidul Alam; Professor Parveen Hassan; women's leaders Farida Akhtar and Shirin Haque; researcher and writer Maleka Begum; Professor Mirza Taslima Sultana; Professor Sayeed Ferdous; Professor Rubayet Ferdous; Barrister Jyotirmoy Barua; human rights activist Noor Khan; Faustina Pereira; Hasibur Rahman and Hannah Shams Ahmed; writer Omar Tarek Chowdhury; physician Naila Zaman Khan; development worker Zakir Hossain; journalist Golam Mortaza; writers Rezaur Rahman Lenin and Arup Rahi, and lawyers Hasnat Qayyum and Cynthia Farid.