D.o.b: c 1965
Profession: Editor and journalist
Date of arrest: 29 November 2003
Details of arrest: Choudhury was arrested at Zia International Airport in Dhaka, on his way to Israel to participate in a conference organised by the Hebrew Writers Association. Choudhury had planned to attend their symposium held in Tel Aviv on the topic of media’s role in establishing peace. Choudhury was charged by the Bangladeshi authorities with sedition because of his association with Israel and his critical writings. Documents found in his briefcase, which included his reports on human rights in Bangladesh and the text of his upcoming speech were used as supporting evidence against him. He was accused of having links to an Israeli intelligence agency. The charge carries a maximum penalty of death or 30 years imprisonment.
Trial details: On 2 May 2005, after 17 months of detention, Choudhury was finally released on bail follwing appeals by PEN USA. After repeated adjournments, his trial has recently resumed on 30 June 2008.
Professional details: Choudhury is the editor of weekly tabloid Blitz. Through his work, Choudhury has attempted to improve the relationship between Muslim countries and Israel. He has previously reported on the controversial issue of the rise of Al-Qaeda in Bangladesh, and has criticised anti-Israeli prejudices in Muslim countries. Choudhury continues to work as editor for Blitz but remains under pressure from the government and extremist groups for his critical writings. Most recently he was attacked in his newspaper offices on 22 February 2009. In October 2009 Blitz published a book written by Choudhury on the rise of Jihadists in Islamic education schools. He continues to work as the editor of Blitz and remains under pressure from the government and extremist groups for his critical writings.
Health concerns: Serious concerns over Choudhury’s health were raised after his offices were bombed in July 2006 and after he was badly beaten during attacks on the newspaper in October 2006.
Honorary Member: English PEN, PEN USA
Awards: Choudhury has received a number of awards for his courage, including the Courageous Journalism Award 2005 (Bangladesh Lokgeeti Shipi Goshti), the Freedom to Write Award 2005 (PEN USA), the Moral Courage Award 2006 (American Jewish Committe) and the Courageous Journalism Award 2006 (Bangladesh Minority Lawyer’s Association).
Originally posted with the url: www.englishpen.org/writersinprison/honorarymembers/bangladesh/salahuddinshoaibchoudhury/