Ilustration by Mexican cartoonist Antonio Rodríguez
The High Court will today announce its decision on the bail plea of cartoonist Ahmed Kabir Kishore, who has been in jail for more than nine months after being arrested in a case filed under the Digital Security Act.
Kishore has been in jail since May last year with writer Mushtaq Ahmed, who died in prison on Friday 26 February.
Both were accused of spreading disinformation against the government on social media in a case opened by the Rapid Action Battalion.
On Sunday, Dhaka Metropolitan Magistrate Mohammad Jashim rejected a remand petition for Kishore.
The cartoonist’s lawyer, Jyotirmoy Barua, also presented an application before the Dhaka court.
In his letter, he claimed that the cartoonist had been “inhumanely tortured” since his arrest last year and that action should be taken against those responsible for the torture. Kishore sent a note to his brother in which he claims to have been subjected to severe physical abuse in prison.
He also claims to be suffering from a serious leg injury and ear injuries that have led to infections due to lack of proper medical care.
Kabir Kishore in 2019
On 23 February, the Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police filed a petition seeking three days’ remand for writer Mushtaq Ahmed and Ahmed Kabir Kishore. Just two days before Mushtaq Ahmed’s death in jail.
Kishore’s “crime”; publishing jokes during the months of March and April last year. His cartoons in the series “Life in a Time of Corona” satirising the country’s response to the pandemic were enough to put him in jail.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet has called for an investigation into the writer’s death. She has also expressed concern about the cartoonist’s legal and health status.
According to Terry Anderson of Cartoonists Rights Network International, Kishore was last seen in court a week ago and looked weak and thinner.
#Freekishore, cartoonists protest
Photo: New Age Bangladesh
Members of the Bangladesh Cartoonists Association rallied in front of the National Museum in Dhaka on Sunday. They demanded the immediate release of fellow cartoonist Ahmed Kabir Kishore and the abolition of the Digital Security Act.
The protest rally was attended by: Nasreen Sultana Mitu, associate editor and cartoonist at UNMAD, Abu Hasan, cartoonist at SaraBangla.net, Mehedi Haque, senior cartoonist at Daily New Age, Reesham Shahab Tirtho, cartoonist and illustrator y Mahatab Rashid, freelance artist and cartoonist in Dhaka Comics.
Humour in trouble, a collection of cases (III)
Cases of cartoonists who have had problems of some importance because of their cartoons or satirical illustrations. There are also some stories of other people who, without being cartoonists, have got into trouble for sharing them.