Update May 14, 2015

Dhaka 2-53 am, 11-August, 2020

PEN slams Sweden for denying visa to Ananta

Sumel Sarker

PEN

PEN slams Sweden for denying visa to Ananta

14 May 2015, Nirapad News: A free speech group of Sweden, PEN, slammed the Swedish Embassy in Dhaka for not granting a visa to recently hacked author and blogger Ananta Bijoy Das despite invitation.

PEN issued a statement on Wednesday that said the organization had invited blogger Ananta more than a month ago to Stockholm to speak about the deteriorating situation in Bangladesh for journalists and writers, following the brutal murders of blogger Washiqur Rahman and writer Avijit Roy earlier in March.

For Ananta Bijoy Dash, the theme of the meeting which was to take place on May 3 in Stockholm was inseparably linked with the reality he lived in as a secular blogger in a Bangladesh where extremism is increasingly on the rise.

According to Swedish PEN, this made him uniquely suited to talk about these issues. But the Swedish Embassy in Dhaka refused to issue the visa required for him to visit Sweden.

However, the Swedish Embassy to Bangladesh refused to issue him an visa saying “You belong to a category of applicants where there is always a risk involved when granting a visa that you will not leave Schengen area after the visit. Furthermore, the purpose of your trip is not urgent enough to grant you visa.”

PEN said, “To understand we need to look back at the decision that the Swedish Embassy in Dhaka sent after they rejected his visa application which he forwarded in his email to the Swedish PEN on the same day.”

Authorities of the organization said they wrote to the authorities to the Swedish Embassy requesting that the decision should be reviewed.

PEN said they therefore demand a detailed and credible explanation of why the Swedish Embassy in Dhaka chose not to grant Ananta Bioy Das.

The visa he would have guaranteed his stay in Stockholm as Swedish PEN’s guest for two weeks upon his arrival, that was supposed to happen last weekend, and which could have ensured that he would still be with us today.

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