Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Bangladesh must refrain harassing editor M Rahman, Amnesty International

The Bangladeshi authorities must refrain from harassing and prosecuting newspaper editor Mahmudur Rahman, reports the UK-based human rights body Amnesty International on Tuesday (January 08, 2013).

Mahmudur Rahman has been threatened with prosecution for publishing a Skype conversation between the then chairman of the International Crimes Tribunal-1 and a Bangladeshi legal expert, the rights body added. After being warned that he could be arrested anytime he has not left his newspaper’s offices since December 13 last year, except for a brief trip to the court on January 8 to seek anticipatory bail. The court is yet to grant his bail. 

“Everyone, including Mahmudur Rahman, has the right to freedom of opinion and to seek, receive and impart information through any media,” said Abbas Faiz, Amnesty International’s Bangladesh researcher. 

“He has been previously detained and tortured for publishing articles in the public’s interest,” he added. “A full report on the Skype conversation had already been published by the UK magazine The Economist and also posted on the YouTube website.” There was no legal ban on the publication of that material in Bangladesh during the time that Amar Desh was publishing it from December 9 to 13 in 2012. 

The newspaper stopped publishing the reports on December 13 when a court injunction banned Bangladeshi newspapers from publishing those. It was after the court injunction that the government obtained a court order from a High Court bench, which required the police to take “necessary action” against Rahman on the basis of the allegation that he had committed sedition by publishing the Skype conversation. The government must ensure that everyone, in particular journalists and editors, are free to express their views and opinion peacefully without being harassed, intimidated, detained or tortured.

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