The Daily Amar Desh is not going to hit the newspaper stands on Friday as police have sealed off its press at Love Road in Dhaka during a raid there.
”Police have also driven our staff out of the press,” Mohiuddin Zilani Tipu, the Press Manager, told reporters around 10.45pm.
“There is no scope for publishing the daily for Friday since the press has been sealed off,” he added.
Mahmudur Rahman, the Acting Editor of the daily, was arrested at his office in the morning on charges of sedition and unlawfully publishing a Skype conversation of a former Chairman of the International Crimes Tribunal.
Police raided the press at Tejgaon late in the night after a Dhaka court granted them 13 days to remand him for questioning in three cases.
“Police have cordoned our press. They are searching inside it too,” Syed Abdal Ahmed, Executive Editor, told bdnews24.com at around 10pm.
“Friday’s publication has become uncertain in the circumstances,” he added.
Some of the journalists said no other press agreed to print the paper following the police raid.
The Manager said police also took away one of the computers from the press.
But no police official was available for comment on the matter.
bdnews24.com Correspondent Golam Mujtaba Drubha who was at the scene said some police members were seen leaving the press with a computer minutes before 10:45pm.
He said at around 11:00pm the press was still cordoned off by law enforcers although the raiding party left the scene.
Explaining the move, a senior police official, seeking anonymity, said, “The court has issued a search warrant in the case over which he was arrested. It has authorised the case’s Investigating Officer to confiscate evidence on this basis. So the investigating officers went to the daily’s press.”
Ilias Ali, the security guard at the press, said the raid kicked off at around 8:30pm.
The Engineer-turned Journalist had earlier been jailed for seven months for contempt of court. He was also arrested following a dispute over ownership of the newspaper.
The publication of Amar Desh also remained suspended for 47 days during his two-time detention.
Rahman was the Energy Advisor to then Prime Minister Khaleda Zia during the previous BNP-led government with the status of a State Minister.
He took over as the Acting Editor of Amar Desh four years back when he had no working link with the media.
Amar Desh commenced its publication in 2005 under the ownership of BNP Chairperson’s Advisor Mosaddek Ali Falu and its ownership was transferred during the Awami League led incumbent government.
Shahbagh’s Ganajagaran Mancha was demanding Rahman’s arrest for ‘inciting religious hatred’ by publishing distorted news and photo in his newspaper.
The Shabagh-centred movement, which is pressing for capital punishment to all convicted war criminals, faced a rash of vicious negative campaign by the daily.
Meanwhile, Leader of the Opposition Khaleda Zia condemned the arrest of Rahman. The Jamaat-e Islam and Hifazat-e Islam demanded his release.