More Bloggers Arrested in Bangladesh

With four atheist bloggers already facing criminal charges for blasphemy, two more teenage bloggers were attacked by a Muslim mob and then arrested for posting “derogatory comments against Islam and Prophet Mohammad.” Some of their fellow bloggers say this is all trumped and all they did was protest death threats against others by Muslim extremists:

Bloggers say [bn] Kazi Mahbubur Rahman Raihan (Rahi) and Ullash Das, both secondary school students at Chittagong College, went to their school on March 30 to collect admission cards for upcoming Higher Secondary Certificate (college-qualifying) exams. They were then attacked by a mob of activists from the Islami Chhatra Shibir, a student organization aligned with the country’s largest Islamist party. They were dragged into the street where they were beaten.

Police intervened to rescue them, but later arrested the two teenage bloggers. They were sent to jail the following day, without bail, under Article 57 of the Information and Communications Technology Act, which criminalizes “publishing fake, obscene or defaming information in electronic form.”

Their defense lawyer Abu Bakar Siddique Azim says that Raihan writes on the Bangla blogging platform Istishon Blog under the pseudonym ‘Ghurnayoman Electron’ (Rotating Electron). Das uses only Facebook as a writing platform. He also said: “As far as we have seen, neither of them wrote any kind of public writing that goes against anyone’s religious belief.”

The controversial Article 57 and other amendments to ICT Act were made by presidential decree in September 2013, despite broad criticism from legal and human rights experts. The law also allows police to arrest a suspect without any means of judicial approval and to detain that person, without bail, for an indefinite period of time.

Arresting people for something that shouldn’t be a crime only on the decree of one man and without any judicial oversight, that sounds a lot like totalitarianism to me. Which is, of course, exactly what Islamists (as opposed to your average Muslim) demands.

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  • Schlumbumbi

    The veneer of civilisation is thin … begs the question why so many non-savages are trying to destroy it.

  • Artor

    Schlum, I think, by definition, that those who are working to shred that veneer are savages, even if they wear Rolexes and ride in a chauffeured Rolls Royce.

  • Pierce R. Butler

    How long until Bangladesh gets its own Boko Haram?

  • Crip Dyke, Right Reverend, Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    I think that should be interpreted

    Electron Spin

    With all the connotations thereof.