(New York, NY) – In response to the news that Bangladeshi photojournalist Shafiqul Islam Kajol was released from jail after being granted bail in three Digital Security Act cases filed against him, Julie Trebault, director of the Artists at Risk Connection (ARC) at PEN America, said the following:

“We are overjoyed to learn that Shafiqul Islam Kajol has finally been granted bail and can be reunited with his family, including his son, who has staunchly campaigned for his father’s freedom. Kajol faced profound health risks while in jail, which were compounded by the rampant spread of COVID-19, and we hope he will have an opportunity to recuperate and receive much-needed care. Nevertheless, our celebration is tempered by the fact that Kajol still faces charges in three cases under the draconian Digital Security Act for merely exercising his fundamental right to freedom of expression. We once again call for these thinly veiled attempts to silence an outspoken critical voice to cease immediately. Kajol should not merely be free on bail: he should be free with all charges dropped.”

PEN America leads the Artists at Risk Connection (ARC), a program dedicated to assisting imperiled artists and fortifying the field of organizations that support them. If you or someone you know is an artist at risk, contact ARC here.