A Bangladeshi court has authorized police to keep two European journalists in custody for five days to question them on allegations they are involved in anti-Bangladeshi activities.
Authorities arrested the two free-lance journalists at a border checkpoint in western Bangladesh, Monday, and seized several of their video cassettes. Briton Zaiba Malik and her Italian colleague, Leopoldo Bruno Sorrentino, were about to cross over into neighboring India.
British and Italian diplomats were present at today's (Tuesday's) hearing in the capital, Dhaka. If convicted of anti-government activities, the journalists could face lifein prison. One Bangladeshi named Priscilla Raj who is alleged to have accompanied the foreign journalists in their mission also faces charges.An arrest warrant has bee issued against nother Bangladeshi Journalist , Selim Samad
The journalists were shooting a documentary for Britain's Channel Four television. But Bangladeshi police say they did not identify themselves as journalists when they obtained visas to enter the country.
The French News Agency quotes a government statement released Tuesday as saying the journalists had a malicious intent to portray Bangladesh as a fanatical Islamic country.
The media rights group, Reporters Without Borders, has demanded the immediate release of the journalists, saying their arrests are a serious attack on press freedoms.