Thursday, February 26, 2009

Choudhury attacked -- again

This report from Sunita Paul is an update of her previous reports on the trials and tribulations of Bangladeshi pro-Israel Muslim journalist Shoaib Choudhury. As such, it contains a great deal of valuable background for those not familiar with his story and his mission.

This time not Islamists or religious fanatics, but, this time, our Hero and my brother and a loving brother of millions of people around the world, Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury is attacked by the very party cadres of Bangladesh Awami League, a party now in power in Bangladesh, which pretends to be following secularist ideology.

According to a Press Release, distributed by U.S. Peace activist Dr. Richard L Benkin and a tireless defender of Shoaib Choudhury, office of anti Jihadist newspaper, Weekly Blitz in Bangladesh came under attack on Sunday morning (February 22, 2009) by armed members of the ruling party in presence of law enforcing agencies. The team of thugs was led by one Shamim from DGFI (Military Intelligence).

The details are quite harrowing and starkly reveal how badly Bangladesh's attempts to achieve democracy continue to slide backwards.

At 10 a.m. Sunday, local time, internationally-acclaimed journalist Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury, was attacked as he was working in the office of his newspaper, Weekly Blitz, by 'a gang of thugs' claiming to be from Bangladesh's ruling Awami League. Choudhury is now under medical treatment for eye, neck, and other injuries suffered in the attack. The renewed violence marks the first against him since he was abducted by Bangladesh´s dreaded Rapid Action Battalion a year ago.

A large group led by one Shamim introducing himself to be an official of DGFI stormed Blitz premises and attacked newspaper staff until they found Choudhury. At that point, he said, 'they dragged me (and two staffs) into the street' where they beat them in broad daylight. They looted Blitz office and stole Shoaib Choudhury´s laptop with all his important information. As of this writing, the attackers continue to occupy the Blitz office and there is no sign of any action from the government in Dhaka.

Police were impassive and seemed intimidated when the attackers emphasized their party membership and accused him of being an agent of the Israeli Mossad. They later threatened to attack his home should Choudhury go to the police again.

A case has been lodged with Paltan Model Police Station. Case No. 65. Under section 143, 448, 323, 342, 384, 380, 227 and 506 of Bangladesh Penal Code. Police although claim to have already started searching for the culprits who were involved in this broad day crime, according to Weekly Blitz; there is no action from the police in arresting the culprits. Meanwhile, a number of culprits are continuing to give threat calls to Weekly Blitz editor Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury and reminding him of not taking any legal action on Sunday's incident. They are saying, "You should know, Awami League is in power and we can do almost everything, whatever we want. You will be a dead man if you proceed."

Elements in the international community and governmental pressure from the U.S. have probably been the only thing standing between Shoaib Choudhury and a death sentence for the crime of attempting to attend a writers' peace conference in Tel Aviv in November, 2003. This resolve is constantly being tested, and the reported indifference (back in 2006) of Senator Obama to Shoaib's situation has surely been noted by and has no doubt encouraged those hoping to make him quietly disappear.

Let's disappoint them -- again.