Rozina Islam, 42, an investigative reporter for the country’s largest Bengali daily Prothom Alo, was arrested by police on Monday under the Official Secrets Act. She was later charged with stealing health ministry documents.
Islam was granted bail after being ordered to surrender her passport and pay a bail bond of 5,000 taka ($60) by the chief metropolitan magistrate of the capital Dhaka, her lawyer said.
“We did not oppose her ad interim bail provided she submits her passport,” Dhaka’s chief prosecutor Abdullah Abu said.
The passport submission was to prevent her from leaving the country, he said, adding that Islam was expected to be released from detention later today.
Journalist unions and advocacy groups said Islam was detained for her stories, which included allegations that urgently needed medical equipment was left at Dhaka airport for months, and that bribes had been offered to recruit doctors.
The general secretary of Bangladesh’s National Press Club welcomed the court’s bail decision but called for the case against her to be dropped. “She has been asked to submit her passport, which is a curb on her freedom of movement,” Elias Khan said. “We have demanded that all the cases against her are withdrawn immediately … Bangladesh journalists still operate in a climate of fear.”