Bangladesh: Brother of Exiled Investigative Journalist Allegedly ‘Beaten with Rods’

    Bangladesh: Brother of Exiled Investigative Journalist Allegedly ‘Beaten with Rods’
    Last updated Mar 25, 2023
    Image credit: Reuters [via Al Jazeera]


    • Mahinur Khan, brother of the Bangladesh journalist Zulkarnain Saer Khan –who worked with Al Jazeera's Investigative Unit on a report linking high-ranking government officials to corruption– stated Thursday that four men attacked him with iron rods last week in Dhaka.[1]
    • He claimed that he was beaten in the evening as he stepped out of his house to buy groceries, allegedly as a punishment for his brother's criticism of PM Sheikh Hasina and her government.[2]
    • The officer-in-charge of Mirpur Police Station, Mohammad Mohsin, confirmed to Bangladesh media that a case was filed on Friday against the four unidentified men.[3]
    • Currently exiled in the UK, Zulkanair told the non-profit Committee to Protect Journalists that locals informed the Khan family that the attackers were supporters of Dhaka official and member of the Awami League party, Humayoun Rashid Jony.[4]
    • On Friday, the US Embassy in Bangladesh called for a comprehensive investigation into the matter, expressing its hope that the alleged perpetrators are held accountable.[5]
    • The international human rights organization Article 19 reported last year that intimidation and violence against the press had been on the rise in Bangladesh, with three killings in June and more than 100 incidents of harassment and injuries from January to May.[6]


    Narrative A

    This attack was clearly coordinated by those in power to try to scare Zulkarnain. The Bangladesh government has been restraining freedom of the press on the basis of halting activities purportedly spreading confusion among the public as it seeks to shut down voices criticizing the ruling Awami League party.

    Narrative B

    While shocking, this incident has nothing to do with freedom of the press and expression, as the opposition claims. Bangladesh is truly committed to ensuring these rights, and until further investigation, outlandish accusations to the contrary should be taken with a grain of salt.

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