by Staff Correspondent in Dhaka;
A magistrate court in Dhaka ordered conditional bail of journalist Rozina Islam on Sunday, a week after she was arrested under a controversial colonial era law, officials said.
Metropolitan Magistrate Baki Billah passed the order after concluding hearing both defence and prosecution, defence lawyer Ehsanul Haque Samaji told reporters.
If there is no other legal barrier, Rozina is likely to release from the bail later on Sunday, he said adding that the defence lawyers did not put on objection on prosecution’s demand for submitting her passport before the court.
Rozina, a senior reporter of Bangla daily Prothom Alo, was arrested on Monday after she was confined by a group of officials at a room in the health ministry for more than five hours.
A nationwide protest erupted across Bangladesh after she was arrested and national and international rights groups demanded her unconditional release.
She was charged for taking away “sensitive official documents and photographing them by mobile phone” under the Official Secrets Act of 1923.
She was transported to jail after the court on Tuesday rejected police’s plea for custodial interrogation. The court also initially fixed Thursday to hear her bail petition, but it was deferred to Sunday as the prosecution lawyers wanted to put further documents before the court.
The protesters said Rozina was implicated in a false case, made up by the officials at the health ministry, anomalies in activities of which were published in her newspaper.
They demanded immediate release of the journalist and the withdrawal of the case. Rozina’s family alleged that she was harassed physically and mentally when she was confined by the health ministry officials.
Deputy Secretary of Health Services Division Md Shibbir Ahmed Osmani filed the case against Rozina with Shahbagh Police Station.