Saturday, April 6, 2013

International organisations concerned and call for bloggers release.

At least three international organisations expressed their concern for the arrest of four bloggers in Bangladesh. They called the government for their immediate release.

International Journalist Federation (IFJ), Committee to Protect Journalist (CPJ), Reporters without Borders (RSF) have published their own press release in their website for the immediate release of four bloggers.  

In a statement released by International Journalist Federation (IFJ) says, The arrest of the four bloggers is seen as an effort by the ruling Awami League party to neutralise the counter-mobilisation by the Islamist party. Bangladesh’s Home Minister has since said that the government has a list of another seven “atheist bloggers” who could soon be arrested. Journalists in Bangladesh are disturbed by these developments and by the government’s stated intent to monitor blog content and initiate criminal action against alleged offenders."

New York based Committee to Protect Journalist (CPJ) says "Targeting bloggers who may not agree with the religious sensibilities of the majority is cause for deep concern". "Such a crackdown on the Internet creates a climate of fear and hinders free expression, which threatens democracy," said CPJ Asia Program Coordinator Bob Dietz. 

In a statement published by Reporters without Borders said “The desire to restore calm does not justify persecuting non-religious bloggers, especially as these arrests, carried out on the pretext of combatting blasphemy, do not in any way guarantee an end to the tension and unrest linked to the current trial of former Islamist politicians for war crimes.”

Police on Wednesday arrested Asif Mohiuddin, a popular blogger who calls himself an atheist and who had often criticized Islamic fundamentalism and written about politicians and current events on his blog and Facebook page. Last week, Mohiuddin had toldAgence France-Presse that he had been interrogated by detectives about his writings and that 120 of his blog posts were deleted. His blog had been one of the most visited websites in the country before it was removed at the order of Bangladesh's telecommunications regulator, according to AFP. Mohiuddin is being held in police custody for three days for further investigation, news reports said.
On Monday, police arrested bloggers Subrata Adhikari Shuvo, Mashiur Rahman Biplob, and Rasel Parvez, news reports said. The bloggers appeared in court on Tuesday for a preliminary hearing, where a judge denied them bail and placed them in police custody for one week for further investigation, the reports said. The three could face up to 10 years in jail if convicted under the country's cyber laws, which outlaw "defaming" a religion, police said, according to news reports. Their blogs were shut down following their arrests, reports said.
The three bloggers had often criticized politicians and the press for being "biased toward Islamist views and ideologies in a country that is constitutionally supposed to be secular," according to news reports. The reports said the bloggers arrested on Monday had frequently used Amar Blog, an online blog publishing site that has since been shut down.

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