Immediate release of Dr. Shahidul Alam

Dear Ambassador H E Mr. Imtiaz Ahmed,
Ref. Immediate release of Dr. Shahidul Alam

We, the undersigned artists and representatives of cultural institutions in Germany, are shocked to learn about the arbitrary arrest of Dr. Shahidul Alam by the Dhaka police on 5 August and subsequent reports of ill-treatment being meted out to him while in police custody. Dr. Alam was recently in Germany on occasion of his works being shown at the exhibition titled Global Positioning System Not Working (20-04 to 08-07) at Academy of the Arts of the World/Cologne. He had also delivered a lecture on activist works of art at University of Cologne on 6 July. He is not only a renowned photographer, journalist and human rights activist, but also has made tremendous contributions in the field of art pedagogy and public institution building. The international community of artists holds him in high regards, and looks forward to learn from his artistic and activist insights. Currently the world is watching the development in Bangladesh and the friends of Shahidul are mobilising themselves.

We deeply condemn the arrest and consider it as a severe and orchestrated attack on universal principle of freedom of expression. We sincerely hope that the State of Bangladesh will not allow this situation to escalate so as to permanently damage the democratic profile of the country. We, on behalf of the artists and intellectuals beyond national borders, appeal to Bangladesh Govt. to release Dr. Shahidul Alam immediately.

Thanking you in anticipation,

Sincerely,

Madhusree Dutta Artistic Director, Academy of the Arts of the World/Cologne

Stefanie Schulte Strathaus Co-Director,Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art, Berlin

Dr. Bernd M. Scherer Director, House of the Cultures of the World Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW), Berlin

Lars Henrik Gass Festival Director/Managing Director, International Short Film Festival Oberhausen

Prof. Nanna Heidenreich Professor for Digital Narratives, IFS-International Film School Köln

Stefan Weidner Islamic Scholar, Writer and Translator

Prof. Dr. Manuel Zahn Professor of Aesthetics, University of Cologne

Bettina Steinbrügge Director, Kunstverein in Hamburg

Dr. Inke Arns Director, Hartware MedienKunstVerein (HMKV), Dortmund

Silvia Fehrmann Co-Speaker, Council for the Arts, Berlin

Tom Holert Director, Harun Farocki Institut, Berlin