The brother of Bangladeshi journalist Zulqarnain Ser Khan, who worked on an investigative report about the country’s prime minister, alleges he was beaten with iron rods by four men in the capital Dhaka last week.
Mahinoor Khan told Al Jazeera that he was surrounded by four unidentified men when he went out to buy groceries in Dhaka’s Maripur area. “They attacked me with iron rods, saying ‘your brother writes about the PM? against the government? she is a journalist? We will show you now,” 37-year-old Mahinoor said on Thursday.
Mahinoor’s brother, Zulqarnain Ser Khan, was one of the journalists who worked with Al Jazeera’s investigative unit (i unit) But all prime minister’s menAn explosive investigation that linked high-ranking Bangladeshi government officials to corruption.
Since then, Zulqarnain has worked with several media organizations including Al Jazeera, Haaretz and the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (occrp,
After the attack on Friday, Mahinoor, an entrepreneur, was brought to a hospital where he was treated for his injuries. He has returned home after filing a report at the police station.
Photos provided to Al Jazeera showed bruises on Mahnoor’s legs and hands, and a broken phone.
Al Jazeera could not independently verify the images.
Al Jazeera reached out to police in Dhaka for more details about the case, but did not receive a response till the time of publication of this article.
all prime minister’s men
In February 2021, Al Jazeera released all prime minister’s menWhich revealed how a criminal gang was colluding with Bangladesh security forces and has links with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Haris Ahmed, brother of Aziz Ahmed, the then chief of Bangladesh’s army, claimed that he could use police and paramilitary units to kidnap rivals and earn millions in bribes.
Documents obtained by I-Unit reveal that the army chief helped a convicted murderer escape justice. The evidence also showed how the country’s military intelligence service secretly bought spyware from Israel – a country that Bangladesh does not recognize – to monitor the prime minister’s political rivals.
Since his work on All the Prime Minister’s Men, Zulqarnain has fled to Bangladesh to safety, and his brother Mahinoor has been questioned by Bangladesh’s intelligence services.
Zulqarnain and Mahinur haven’t been in regular touch since then, fearing their phones might be tapped. bangladesh security system,
In response to the attack, Zulqarnain told Al Jazeera: “They will not succeed in intimidating me through this.”
censorship and crackdown
Bangladesh has faced widespread criticism for its lack of press freedom.
Last month, Govt. close the newspaper The main opposition party of the country.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF), a media watchdog, issued a report Warning against impending crackdown on opposition media in the last week of February.
According to RSF, Hasina’s government plans to shut down at least 191 news websites for “conducting activities that spread confusion among the public”.
The report also noted several cases of attacks on journalists and other media critical of the Awami League party.
In other cases, according to the watchdog, journalists received death threats for their reporting.
When Hasina came to power in 2009, Bangladesh was ranked 121st out of 180 countries on RSF’s World Press Freedom Index. In the latest ranking, the South Asian country is ranked 162.
Both the United Nations and independent human rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch have condemned human rights abuses in Bangladesh, such as cases of enforced disappearance and torture.
In December 2021, the U.S. ban against the country’s paramilitary forces – the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) – and accused of causing enforced disappearances and carrying out extrajudicial killings.
Hasina denied in an interview with Al Jazeera earlier this month that her government was cracking down on the opposition.
,[From] From 2009, when I formed the government, till now there has been a continuous democratic process in our country and that is why the country has progressed. told Al JazeeraReferring to the impressive economic growth during his tenure.
“The people who are talking about this don’t want a stable country and stable economic growth.”