STUDENTS and academics who are calling for a photography professor to be freed from a Bangladeshi jail have launched an exhibition as part of their campaign.

Photojournalist and activist Shahidul Alam has been in custody since August 5, when he was arrested after giving an interview on Al Jazeera in which he spoke about the government following student protests in Dhaka.

Mr Alam, 63, has been a visiting professor at the University of Sunderland for many years.

On Wednesday more than 80 staff and students, along with campaigners and peace activists, unveiled an exhibition of his work at the university’s Priestman Gallery.

Academics and activists from Amnesty International gave speeches to the packed gallery before a procession carrying banners made their way to the University’s Northern Centre of Photography.

Twenty other UK universities and galleries are also displaying his photographs in a bid to raise awareness of his imprisonment.

Arabella Plouviez, professor of photography and dean of the faculty of arts and creative industries, is a close friend of Mr Alam.

She said: “Shahidul is calm, driven and unfailingly just– we are concerned for his safety and join his family and many friends in demanding his release from injustice. There has already been huge international support for the #freeshahidulalam campaign, which we know Shahidul is aware of and appreciates. We need to keep up the momentum and amplify the voices appealing to the Bangladeshi authorities.”

Sunderland Central MP Julie Elliott has also backed the campaign who said he is held in high esteem in the city.

Mr Alam is being held under the controversial section 57 of Information and Communication Technology Act, which carries up to 14 years in prison, and has been used in more than 20 cases recently involving journalists.