Abul Kalam was detained at the Kutupalong police barracks until late afternoon of Wednesday 30th December. According to Bangladeshi law, a person in custody should be brought before the courts within 24 hours. This was not the case for Abul Kalam and, at the time of writing, he has been detained for more than 60 hours. This is a clear violation of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh and the directives of the High Court Division of the Supreme Court in BLAST v Bangladesh (55 DLR 363).
Photography is not a crime. Abul Kalam was taking photographs of buses on their way to Bhasan Char. He was doing so in a public place, albeit in a refugee camp. The relocation to Bhasan Char is a widely publicized programme of the Bangladesh government. It is by no means a secret and has been extensively covered in the media.
Abul Kalam is 35 years old and lives in Kutupalong Registered Camp. He has been a refugee for 28 years. He originally came from Borgozbil, Maungdaw, Myanmar. He is a prolific photographer and has documented refugee life throughout recent years. His images have appeared in many publications, and he recently won two prizes in the Rohingya Photography Competition. He is married and has four children. Two of his children are very young.
We, the undersigned, call upon the authorities to release Abul Kalam unconditionally and without further delay.
Dr C R Abrar, academic and migration rights expert, Dhaka
Dr Simon Adams, Executive Director, Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
Professor Shapan Adnan, SOAS, University of London, UK.
Hana Shams Ahmed, Graduate Programme, Social Anthropology, York University.
Kamal Ahmed, Independent Journalist and Author
Farida Akhter, Women’s movement activist, Bangladesh
Shahidul Alam, Bangladeshi Photojournalist
Laetitia van den Assum, diplomatic expert & former Netherlands’ ambassador
Jamal Benomar, Former UN Under-Secretary General
Simon Billenness, International Campaign for the Rohingya, USA
Beyond Borders Malaysia
Liza Boschin, RAI Documentary Maker & Photographer, Italy.
Professor Bina D’Costa, Dept. of International Relations, Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs, Australian National University
Cape Diamond, Journalist, Myanmar
Nigel Edwards QC, Barrister, Head of International Law, Human Rights and Civil Liberties, 33 Bedford Row, London.
Mark Farmaner, Director, Burma Campaign UK
Peter Gabriel, Musician & Human Rights Activist, Founder of WITNESS
Professor Penny Green, Professor of Law and Globalisation at Queen Mary University of London
Jamila Hanan, Activist, UK.
Mohammad Rakibul Hasan, Photojournalist, Zuma Press.
Mubashar Hasan, Author & Researcher, Sydney, Australia
Megan Hirst, Barrister, Doughty Street Chambers, London.
Barrister Sara Hossain, Honorary Executive Director, BLAST.
Shireen Pervin Huq, Coordinator, Standing with Rohingya Women & Founder Member, Naripokkho
Dr Patricia Hynes, Reader in Forced Migration, University of Bedfordshire
Nabila Islam, Researcher, Brown University, USA.
Bianca Jagger, Founder, President and Chief Executive, Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation. Council of Europe Goodwill Ambassador. Member of the Executive Director’s Leadership Council of Amnesty International USA
Ali Johar, Co-director of Rohingya Human Rights Initiative, India
Adilur Rahman Khan, Advocate, The Supreme Court of Bangladesh and Secretary General of International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH).
Tun Khin, President, Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK, London.
Lynn Lee, Filmmaker, Hong Kong
Dr Ronan Lee, Visiting Scholar, Queen Mary University of London
Rezaur Rahman Lenin, Academic Activist, Dhaka
James Leong, Filmmaker, Honk Kong
Nay San Lwin, Co-founder, Free Rohingya Coalition
Advocate Shabnam Mayet, Protect the Rohingya, South Africa
Jonathan Miller, Foreign Affairs Correspondent, Channel 4 News
Edith Mirante, Project Maje, USA.
Professor Nayanika Mookherjee, Department of Anthropology, Durham University
Malik Mujahid, Burma Task Force, USA
Dr Sadaf Noor, Researcher, University of Durham
Wai Wai Nu, Founder and Executive Director of Women’s Peace Network
Pascal Nufer, Swiss National Television, Switzerland
Tara O’Grady, Human Rights Sentinel, Ireland
Professor Ilhami Alkan Olsson, Director, Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, Istanbul
Professor John Packer, Director of the Human Rights Research and Education Centre (HRREC), University of Ottawa.
Dr Ambia Perveen, Chair, European Rohingya Council
Shafiur Rahman, Documentary maker and organiser of the Rohingya Photography Competition, UK
Mahi Ramakrishnan Investigative Filmmaker, Malaysia
Restless Beings, UK
Thomas Sadoski, Actor, USA
Jelia Sane, Barrister, Doughty Street Chambers, London.
Sharifah Shakirah, Founder & Director of Rohingya Women Development Network (RWDN)
Professor Dina M Siddiqi, Faculty of Liberal Studies, New York University
Greta Van Susteren, Voice of America
Abolfazl Talooni, Filmmaker, London
Ai Weiwei, Artist
Dr Maung Zarni, Co-Founder, Free Rohingya Coalition