Reporter Rozina Islam was not ‘abused’, claims health minister – bdnews24.com


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  Staff Correspondent,  bdnews24.com
Published: 18 May 2021 03:03 PM BdST Updated: 18 May 2021 03:10 PM BdST
Police take Prothom Alo journalist Rozina Islam to Dhaka CMM’s court on Monday, May 18, 2021, after arresting her under the Official Secrets Act. Photo: Asif Mahmud Ove
The minister’s assertion runs counter to Rozina and her family’s insistence that she was ‘abused’ because of her reporting on alleged corruption in the health ministry.
“Her corruption reporting did not come today,” Zahid Maleque said following a meeting of the National Economic Council in Dhaka’s Agargaon on Tuesday.
“What happened there was the result of things that happened that day.”
The health minister claims that Rozina entered an empty room next to the secretary’s office and took some government documents, which she concealed in her bag and on her person. She also photographed them on her mobile phone, the minister said.
“This is unfortunate,” the minister said. “These documents were related to vaccines — the Russian and Chinese vaccines. These are non-disclosure documents. If they are leaked, it will violate state commitments. We might not get the vaccines. It could cause great harm to this country and its people. These are secret documents and they should not have been taken away.”
Zahid Maleque said two senior officials dealt with the issue initially. “Later, when the matter of state secrets was revealed, they brought in the police.”
Rozina denied any wrongdoing. Her husband Monirul Islam Mithu claims that she was detained at the Secretariat and “physically harassed”. But Zahid Maleque denied it.
“I heard that she was detained for a long time,” he told the media. “Police were there … but she lay down or sat down on her own. They weren’t able to move her. They did not abuse or hit her.”
Asked why an antiquated law like the Official Secrets Act was invoked in this case, the minister said: “I am not a lawyer, so I will not speak on legal matters.”

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