Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Bangladesh teacher awarded imprisonment for Facebook status

SALEEM SAMAD

BANGLADESH FOR the first time has given a verdict on Wednesday to a university teacher for his status wishing death of prime minister Shiekh Hasina.

The High Court sentenced Jahangirnagar University’s fugitive teacher Muhammad Ruhul Amin Khandaker to six months for contempt of court, after the accused failed to appear on court summons.

The court will soon deliver the verdict on the primary case, wishing death to Hasina in social media, which Khandakar wrote on Aug. 13 in the Facebook status.

Bangladesh has 2,251,340 ranking 56th position globally.

Bangladesh, last May was the second South Asian nation after Pakistan to block the popular social media Facebook for blasphemy inviting people to draw images of Islam's Prophet Muhammad.

The court ordered the university authority to take steps against the fugitive teacher according to the university rules.

The police chief has been asked to arrest him, Hossain said. The court also ordered the foreign ministry to bring back the teacher from Australia, where he is study leave.

Human rights lawyer Dr Shahdin Malik said Bangladesh does not have specific laws to punish Facebook users. Therefore, it would be difficult to charge a user for security threats or blasphemy.

Saleem Samad, an Ashoka Fellow is an award winning investigative journalist based in Bangladesh. He specializes on Islamic terrorism, forced migration, good governance and elective democracy. He has recently returned from exile from Canada after return of democracy. He could be reached at saleemsamad@hotmail.com