Amnesty International on Wednesday expressed deep concern about the arrest of Prothom Alo Senior Journalist Rozina Islam and said she must not be punished for carrying out her journalistic work.
Amnesty International South Asia Campaigner Saad Hammadi said, "The prosecution of Rozina Islam under the Official Secrets Act is a brazen attack on the right to freedom of expression and the ability of Bangladeshi society to seek and receive information."
He also noted information about how the government is procuring Covid-19 vaccines is in the public interest and should not be hidden behind national security locks, reads a press release.
"Rozina Islam has exposed irregularities in Bangladesh's health sector for the past few months during the Covid-19 pandemic and her arrest points to an increasing trend of a wider crackdown on freedom of expression through draconian laws to silence critical or dissenting views," Saad added.
The organisation also highlighted the failure of the authorities to provide concrete evidence pointing to a recognisable criminal offence against Rozina.
"It raises further concerns that she is being targeted for her critical reporting. In the absence of such evidence, the authorities must release her immediately," said Saad Hammadi.
Rozina Islam was kept confined at the health ministry for more than five hours on Monday before being handed over to the police.
Later, she was shown arrested in the case on charges of spiriting away "important" documents.
Investigative journalist Rozina, known for dozens of ground-breaking reports in her career, was charged with breaching the Official Secrets Act 1923.