Dearest Arundhati Roy: Shahidul Alam reflects on his time in prison

Dearest Arundhati Roy: Shahidul Alam reflects on his time in prison

The Bangladeshi photographer was charged with criticising his country on Facebook and spent more than 100 days behind bars. Now freed, he replies to the Indian novelist who wrote to him in jail

Dearest Arundhati,

It was a letter I read and reread long before it appeared before my eyes. It was through layers of metal bars that I strained to listen to my wife Rahnuma’s words. The noise made by us as screaming prisoners, straining to hear and be heard, was akin to a crowded stadium or a fire siren. As she repeated her words over and over again, I faintly heard: Arundhati. Letter. I had been incarcerated for just over 100 days. A hundred days since I’d slept on my own bed, fed my fish, cycled down the streets of Dhaka. A hundred days since I’d pressed my shutter as I searched for that elusive light.

Related: Amid arrests and killings, Bangladesh and India must fight censorship | Arundhati Roy

The threat of bail being withdrawn is the threat they hope will silence my tongue, my pen and my camera

Related: The work of jailed Bangladeshi photojournalist Shahidul Alam

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