He was denied bail six times and finally passed away last night before he could ever walk free. Writer Mushtaq Ahmed, who had been locked up under the controversial Digital Security Act for over nine months, was in the Kashimpur High Security Jail-3 in Gazipur.
“He lost consciousness suddenly around 7:10pm. Immediately, we took him to Shaheed Tajuddin Ahmad Medical College Hospital. There, doctor declared him dead around 8:20pm,” Gias Uddin, acting superintendent of Kashimpur High Security Jail, told Mushtaq was 53.
Asked if the writer had any previous health issues, he said Mushtaq used to take pills for gastric problems but never complained about anything.
Quoting doctors, Brig Gen Md Mominur Rahman Mamun, inspector general of prisons, tol that Mushtaq was brought in dead at the hospital and that details would be known once the autopsy was done.
Md Sharif, a doctor at the hospital, also said Mushtaq was dead on arrival.
A relative, wishing not to be named, told that they could not believe that Mushtaq was dead. They did not know whether he had any heart disease.
The jail authorities called Mushtaq’s brother-in-law after failing to reach anyone at his home number, added the relative. Mushtaq’s parents went to the hospital at night. According to family sources, the body would be handed over to them this morning.
Mushtaq lived with his wife Lipa Akhter and elderly parents in Lalmatia. He used to write under the pen name Michael Kumir Thakur. His book “Kumir Chasher Diary” was published in November 2018, and he was working on another book.
He was critical, on social media, of the government’s handling of the pandemic.
On May 6 last year, Rapid Action Battalion arrested him at his Dhaka home for “spreading rumours and carrying out anti-government activities”.
The charges were filed under the DSA and he had been in that prison since August 20.