Tasneem Khalil Released!

Action Information

 (via Shuchinta)

>>> Contact the following Senators:
Edward Kennedy, John Kerry, Charles Schumer, Hillary Clinton
>>> Contact the Congressional Bangladeshi Caucus Members:
Gary Ackerman (NY-05), Michael Capuano (MA-08), Joseph Crowley (NY-07), William Delahunt (MA-10), Eliot Engel (NY-17), Chris Van Hollen (MD-08), Rick Larsen (WA-02), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Carolyn Maloney (NY-14), Gregory W. Meeks (NY-06), Jim Moran (VA-08), Jim McDermott (WA-07), Jerrold Nadler (NY-08), Frank Pallone (NJ-06), Bill Pascrell (NJ-08), Thomas Petri (WI-06), David Price (NC-04), Silvestre Reyes (TX-16),  Ed Royce (CA-39), Brad Sherman (CA-27), Anthony Weiner (NY-09), Robert Wexler (FL-19),  David Wu (OR-01)
>>> Please visit and vote for Tasneem Khalil on Technorati to keep the story on Technorati’s "HOT WTFs" list.
>>> Please add the "Please Help Tasneem Khalil" image (on the top of my sidebar on the right) to your blog and link to any post about his story. Please help keep his story alive. It will keep him alive. [Many thanks to Jill at Never In Our Names for the image and support.]
>>> For readers in the UK, Pickled Politics is organizing an e-petition to the British Government.


From Asif at Drishtipat:

Update 9:11:33 pm BDT
Tasneem is meeting with Mahfuz Anam in his office alone. Staffers in office say he looks physically ok, but badly shaken up. He is being taken home to his wife by DS staff after the meeting with MA.

Update 8:11:15 pm BDT
Tasneem Khalil released by joint forces. 24 hours after being picked up.

Update 7:10:15 pm BDT
Senior Daily Star office are huddled in office, including Mahfuz Anam. MA has released a statement. Excerpts: ” “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….In fact, it was because of the contents of his personal blog and some SMSs he had sent recently….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.” Full statement is not online on DS website yet.


[Courtesy bdnews24.com] Below is the Press Release from Daily Star editor and publisher Mahfuz Anam that was sent out after negotiations with the military to secure Tasneem’s release (click image for larger version):

Daily Star Press Release by Mahfuz Anam

Update 5/11/2007 7:14pm): Amnesty International and Committee to Protect Journalists have sent out alerts for Tasneem Khalil. The BBC has also reported on his case.

Update (5/11/2007 11:02am): The military has apparently promised to release Tasneem by 11:30am EST (9:30pm Bangladesh time).  I’ll update as soon as I hear anything. Nothing is certain until he is released – the situation is quite fluid. Follow Drishtipat for up-to-the-minute information.

Tasneem Khalil, an editor at the Bangladesh’s leading English language daily, The Daily Star, has been taken away from his home by the military in Bangladesh. He was taken away just a few hours ago in the middle of the night. His whereabouts are currently unknown and his life is most certainly in danger.

Apparently Mr. Khalil’s crime is that he did his job. He spoke truthfully about the current situation in Bangladesh. He was interviewed by Nora Boustany of the Washington Post last month – that interview may have cost him his freedom and now possibly his life.

I have been speaking out over the last month about the military takedown of the democratic system in Bangladesh. One by one the fundamental rights of Bangladeshis have been taken away. But, Bangladeshis have recently started to fight back against the military. The press, the people and the courts have begun speaking out. The military now aims to silence them. Their thuggery is now plain to see.

Do not let Tasneem Khalil be "disappeared" into darkness. He is one of the brightest lights in Bangladeshi journalism and today, this minute, his life is in danger. Other reporters in Bangladesh are currently living in fear.

I urge anyone reading this post to come to the rescue of a man who has in times of need spoken out for freedom. Only sustained pressure and international news coverage will stay the brutal hand of the Bangladesh military.

UPDATE (5/10/2007 7:13 pm):

Human Rights Watch has just released the following statement demanding immediate release of Tasneem Khalil:

Bangladesh: Release Journalist and Rights Activist

Army Arrests Tasneem Khalil of Human Rights Watch

(London, May 11, 2007) – Bangladesh’s military-backed care-taker government should immediately release Tasneem Khalil, an investigative journalist and part-time Human Rights Watch consultant, who was detained by security forces late last night, Human Rights Watch said today.

Khalil, 26, is a journalist for the Dhaka-based Daily Star newspaper who conducts research for Human Rights Watch. According to his wife, four men in plainclothes who identified themselves as from the “joint task force”came to the door after midnight on May 11 in Dhaka, demanding to take Khalil away. They said they were placing Khalil “under arrest” and taking him to the Sangsad Bhavan army camp, outside the parliament building in Dhaka.  
“We are extremely concerned about Tasneem Khalil’s safety,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “He has been a prominent voice in Bangladesh for human rights and the rule of law, and has been threatened because of that.”  
The men did not offer a warrant or any charges, Khalil’s wife said. Using threatening language, they searched the house and confiscated Khalil’s passport, two computers, documents, and two mobile phones.  
“It is an emergency; we can arrest anyone,” one of the men said. Another asked if Khalil suffered from any particular physical ailments. They drove Khalil off in a Pajero jeep.  
Khalil is a noted investigative journalist who has published several controversial exposes of official corruption and abuse, particularly by security forces. He assisted Human Rights Watch in research for a 2006 report about torture and extrajudicial killings by Bangladesh security forces.  
According to Bangladeshi human rights groups, the army has detained tens of thousands of people since a state of emergency was declared on January 11, 2007. A number of those detained are picked up in the middle of the night, as Khalil was, and then tortured.  
In Bangladesh, security forces have long been implicated in torture and extrajudicial killings. The killings have been attributed to members of the army, the police, and the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), an elite anti-crime and anti-terrorism force. The Human Rights Watch report Khalil worked on, “Judge, Jury, and Executioner: Torture and Extrajudicial Killings by Bangladesh’s Elite Security Force,” focused on abuses by the RAB.  
Killings in custody remain a persistent problem in Bangladesh. To date, no military personnel are known to have been held criminally responsible for any of the deaths.  
Khalil was called in for questioning by military intelligence last week, apparently as part of the military’s campaign to intimidate independent journalists ahead of May 10, 2007, when the army’s three-month legal mandate for ruling under a state of emergency came to an end.  
“The Bangladeshi military should be on notice that its actions are being closely watched by the outside world,” Adams said. “Any harm to Tasneem Khalil will seriously undermine the army’s claims to legitimacy and upholding the rule of law.”

 Update 2 (5/10/2007 11:18pm):

CNN Wire is currently carrying the following story of Tasneem Khalil’s arrest:

Bangladeshi journalist arrested

(CNN) — A Bangladeshi journalist was arrested and taken from his home Friday and is believed to be held by the army for unknown reasons, according to his wife.

Tasneem Khalil, who also works part-time for Human Rights Watch and as a stringer for several news organizations, including CNN, writes for the Dhaka-based Daily Star.

Khalil’s wife telephoned CNN to say that men from an army intelligence unit arrested him early Friday.

In a statement, Khalil’s wife said he was arrested by four men in plainclothes who said they were from "the joint task force." They refused to tell Khalil on what charges he was being arrested and cautioned him to be quiet "if you don’t want anything else to happen," she said.

She said the men searched the house, taking Khalil’s passport and cell phones, two desktop computers and "all the documents, notepads, piles of paper, CDs and everything. They took it all away."

The men allegedly took Khalil to the Sangsad Bhavan army camp, outside the parliament building in Dhaka. (Posted 7:33 p.m.)

Update (5/11/2007 1:50am):

According to CNN, CNN and Human Rights Watch are in contact with the Bangladeshi government trying to get information about Tasneem:

The Bangladeshi army has detained thousands of people since declaring a state of emergency on January 11, Human Rights Watch said. Many of them have been tortured, the group said.

"We are extremely concerned about Tasneem Khalil’s safety," said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. "He has been a prominent voice in Bangladesh for human rights and the rule of law and has been threatened because of 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.

CNN and HRW have been in contact with Bangladesh’s Special Envoy to the United States, Farook Sobhan, and other officials in attempts to find information about Khalil. Sobhan told CNN it was the first he’d heard about Khalil’s arrest and promised to make inquiries.

Update (5/11/2007 7:30am):

Tasneem is alive. He has been allowed to speak briefly on the telephone with his wife. The Associate Press is now covering his story. Scroll down for previous updates.

This entry was posted in Bangladesh, Human Rights. Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to Tasneem Khalil Released!

  1. All the best I wish to put in favor of TASNEEM.Allwhere, Everywhere.

  2. Mash says:

    Sushanta, per Rubel at Salam Dhaka CNN and HRW are starting to act on it. Tasneem is CNN’s representative in Bangladesh, so I expect CNN to speak out here.

    Time is really of the essence here.

  3. ZaFa says:

    Hey…great job on the contact info. \:d/
    Let’s get rolling!

  4. Mash says:

    Zafa, I got the initial list from Shuchinta.

  5. sonia says:

    we need to do our best for Tasneem – this is crazy

  6. Mash says:

    Sonia, thanks for your support! o:-)

    I read on Pickled Politics that Sunny has taken up Tasneem’s cause and is organizing a protest at the Bangladesh High Commission in London.

  7. sonia says:

    Hi Mash,

    yep..fingers crossed!! we’re also going to go for one of these fancy e-petitions to our lovely outgoing Prime Minister – that you can create easily here – so if anyone from the UK is reading this post – please drop by the Pickled politics site where we hope to be able to post up the URL of the petition.

    is there a US equivalent???

  8. Mash says:

    Sonia, I’ve added a link to Sunny’s post in the Action Alert table for UK readers. I think there is an equivalent in the US, I’m looking into it and will post once I find out. If anyone else knows please let me know.

  9. Anthony says:

    I see that you haven’t been touched by the mysterious ABC/Anonymous who’s going round the Deshi blogosphere.;)

  10. Mash says:

    Anthony, I feel left out :d

    Maybe Mr. ABC will deign to visit my humble site and leave his pearls of wisdom. I am sure my readers would find the comment illuminating.

  11. ABC says:

    Whatever you say…the truth remains what it is.

    Why do you think DS/PA kept their mouth shut? They know the fact. Tasneem Khalil is much more than what you think. He has got other ‘talents’ and he is describing those to JF. Calm down, he will be released eventually.

    Wait until few more hours. See what comes out in Daily Star. You expect that it would be the main header. But you will be surprised to see Mahfuz Anam trying to prove that he was not a party to Tasneem on his subversive activities. ‘chacha, aapon pran bacha’.

    Apart from his part time journalism, blogging, HR activity, Tasneem Khalil is on the payroll of a number of foreign intelligence agencies. He will be exposed to you all. Please wait for that. Meanwhile, you may keep these messages on hold if you are uncomfortable. You promote freedom of speech, don’t you ???

    Mahfuz Anam is no coward and he is not afraid of military. When Army Chief gave a speech on democracy, the next day Mahfuz Anam brought out a special ‘commentary’ on the front page attacking the Chief. He is also not careless about his own employees.

    The fact is : Tasneem has done something so wrong and Mahfuz Anam does not have an excuse to overrule that. Tomorrow, he will totally disown any report related to Tasneem Khalil. I guarantee it. Tasneem has not been detained for his writing. As a writer, he is not at all important. He has done some subversive activities which is punishable in any countries…even in those countries whose government officials are being pursued by some DP intellectuals !
    Note that, I have posted 3 times earlier about this and DP Admin has yet to release those ! What a shame !

  12. ABC says:

    OK guys….time to face the reality. Mahfuz Anam has just released a statement to UNB stating that Tasneem Khalil has been arrested NOT for his journalism, but for his other personal activities. Check this out with UNB or any newspaper editor.

  13. Mr. Bingley says:

    Gosh, what a mess. I\’m sorry,Mash. We\’ll do what we can.

  14. Alfredo says:

    It appears to me that ABC (inadvertently) left one small pearl of wisdom in his (or her) sea of idiocy:

    the truth remains what it is…

    Indeed. And what remains as truth is this: democratic states do not take away their citizens in the middle of the night, in secrecy and without due process.

    If Tasneem Khalil is indeed some sort of spy, as is implied by ABC (“[he] is on the payroll of a number of foreign intelligence agencies”), then why not present the case before a legitimate court, in “broad light” rather than in the darkness of military midnight?

    I cast my vote in Technorati earlier. Thanks for the heads up, Mash.

  15. Bless his heart, Mash. We’re with ya, dear friend.

  16. Asif says:

    It’s amazing isn’t it Mash, how everyone with intelligence enough to tie their own shoelaces without consulting a how-to-guide suddenly become “intellectuals”? I have never been honoured with more in my life.

    My personal experience is that some of the most intellectually sound people in BD served in the military. ABC is clearly not one of them. Perhaps he dislikes them also?

  17. Asif says:


    Just wanted to be the first to post it here. He’s been released. It’s on DP.

  18. ZaFa says:

    Tasneem has been released.
    Now we want him to talk.

  19. Mash says:

    Asif, thanks. I just updated the post. Great news!! I am waiting to get a fuller picture of what will happen next.

    THS, Mr. Bingley, thank you for your help. The speed with which everyone was able to spread the news I think led to his quick release. The military regime can only thrive in the shadows. That’s why they are so afraid to let people speak their minds.

    Alfredo, hear hear! Facts and truth are always the enemy of those with the guns.

    ABC, thank you for visiting my site. I was feeling left out when you were posting everywhere and not on my site. Now I feel like I have arrived.

    ABC, as everyone here knows, I do not censor. Why would I? Your words expose you and this military regime for what it is. Everyone can judge for themselves the worth of your comment and your worldview. You may have the guns but in the end you will learn that the guns aren’t enough to hold on to power. 150 million people are not that easily suppressed.

  20. sonia says:

    thank goodness!

  21. Ingrid says:

    And just as I had time to post.. well, it doesn’t hurt to lead people to your excellent coverage of Bangladeshi affairs..phew..what a relief he’s freed but no doubt, this is not the end of it..
    my sister in law is coming into town tonight for the weekend, I’ll drop in tomorrow to follow up

  22. Mash says:

    Ingrid, thanks you >:d<

Comments are closed.