Arrested in Bangladesh

This is the story of Ahmed Kabir Kishore, a cartoonist jailed for 10 months under Bangladesh’s Digital Security Act, after he published cartoons criticizing the government's handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Warning: Some viewers may find the following content disturbing. Viewer discretion is advised.

Cartoonist Ahmed Kabir Kishore says he was taken from his home on May 2, 2020, by unknown people. He was put in a room and questioned for hours about his cartoons.
“They beat my legs a lot. My eardrum ruptured. I can’t see properly. … They beat the soles of my feet very severely,” Kishore told BenarNews after he was released on bail on March 4.
One evening, Kishore says, he was taken to an office of the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB). There he saw his friend Mushtaq Ahmed, who looked like he had been severely beaten too. Ahmed said, “Be proud man! You have not done any crime!”
Neither Kishore nor Ahmed were tortured, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal told BenarNews. A RAB spokesman said Kishore “was produced in court during the time period specified by law.” He was arrested May 5 and taken to court within 24 hours, authorities say.
Days after Ahmed suddenly fell ill in a high-security prison and died of “natural causes,” Kishore was released on bail for health reasons. "I am having to hear that it is because he died that I am free. I did not want freedom like this,” Kishore told The Daily Star.
If her husband had not been denied bail on Feb. 25, two days before he died, "he would have been with us. He would not have died in jail,” Ahmed’s wife, Lipa Akhter, told BenarNews.

Activists say that “enforced disappearance” is all too common in Bangladesh, but most people who turn up after going missing are silent about what happened to them.

Kishore has not been silent.

He has filed a case in court accusing unnamed person of torturing him after taking him from his home four days before his arrest was announced.

Police are investigating.

Artwork by Rebel Pepper
Web page produced by: Minh-Ha Le
Editing: Kate Beddall, H. Léo Kim, Mahbub Leelen, Paul Nelson, Shailaja Neelakantan, Ashif Entaz Rabi, Imran Vittachi
Reported and produced by BenarNews
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