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Scribes grilled in Dhaka

Dhaka, Nov. 28 (PTI): Bangladesh police yesterday interrogated two detained foreign journalists as the BBC and an international press watchdog body demanded the their immediate release.

The journalists, Briton Zaiba Malik and Italian Bruno Sorrentino, and their interpreter were grilled at the joint interrogation cell yesterday to ascertain the “actual motive” of their visit to Bangladesh, media reports said today.

The police were examining all recorded tapes seized from the two journalists on alleged repression of minorities, the UNB news agency said quoting police sources. Lawyers can only meet them while in custody if allowed by the court, police sources said.

“Their motive seems to be to find out whether Bangladesh has a Taliban and al Qaida network and to highlight in foreign media that there is no communal harmony in the country,” a senior police officer was quoted in The Daily Star.

The BBC and the Reporters Sans Frontiers, a Paris-based media watchdog body, called the arrests a “serious attack on press freedom”. The two “freelance journalists” entered the country through India early this month to work on a project on behalf of Channel Four, a subsidiary of the BBC.

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