Dhaka, May 18 : A Dhaka court on Tuesday sent Prothom Alo senior journalist Rozina Islam, arrested in a case under the Official Secrets Act, to judicial custody after rejecting the police’s demand for her five-day remand.Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Mohammad Jashim passed the order after Inspector Arifur Rahman Sardar, the investigating officer in the case, produced the 42-year scribe in the court this morning and sought her remand for custodial interrogation.
The court also fixed May 20 for hearing Rozina’s bail petition put up by her lawyer Prashanto Kumar Karmakar.
Earlier in the day, Rozina was produced in the court, Deputy Commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (Ramna Division) Sazzadur Rahman said.
Rozina was arrested for allegedly attempting to illegally “collect sensitive government documents and taking photos of them” from the Secretariat on Monday.
The Prothom Alo journalist has rejected all the allegations. “I was, in fact, harassed at the Secretariat,” she claimed immediately after her arrest.
An FIR was filed against Rozina under the Official Secrets Act and sections 379 and 411 of The Penal Code on a complaint filed by the Health Services Division at Shahbagh police station, said Harun ur Rashid, additional deputy commissioner (Ramna Division) of Dhaka Metropolitan Police.
Rozina was handed over to police around 9.45pm on Monday after being held at the Secretariat for over five hours.
Maidul Islam Pradhan, senior information officer at the Health Ministry, claimed that she had entered the room of the Private Secretary to the Secretary of Health Services Division between 3pm and 3.30pm “without permission”.
“She took photos of sensitive documents. Some of those were recovered from her by the staff of the Health Ministry, including the PS, Additional Secretary of the Ministry and police constable Mizanur Rahman,” he claimed.
Health Secretary Lokman Hossain has refused to comment on the matter.
Protest over arrest
Dozens of journalists thronged the police station after Rozina was brought there and staged a protest against her harassment on Monday night.
Jatiya Press Club President Farida Yasmin wrote on her verified Facebook page that Rozina had fallen sick. She also demanded proper treatment of the journalist.
Elias Khan, Secretary of the apex journalist organisation, also condemned the alleged misbehaviour of government employees at the Secretariat with the on-duty journalist.
On Tuesday morning, members of the Bangladesh Secretariat Reporters Forum (BSRF) boycotted the Health Ministry’s press briefing in protest against Rozina’s arrest.
The BSRF will hold an emergency meeting over the issue, Shamim Ahmed, general secretary of BSRF, said in a release, reports UNB.