Fri, 12 Apr 2013 06:52:31 GMT

Editor of pro-opposition daily arrested in Bangladesh

From Anisur Rahman
Dhaka, Apr 11 (PTI) Bangladesh police today arrested the editor of the Bengali daily ''Amar Desh'', a pro-opposition newspaper, on the charges of sedition and inciting religious tension in the country.

Mahmudur Rahman was arrested this morning from his office at Karwan Bazar area in the capital, police said.

Witnesses said plainclothesmen picked up Rahman in a raid on the newspaper office, where he had been staying for the last three months.

He was taken to the headquarters of Detective Branch (DB) of police for initial interrogation.

"He has been arrested on the basis of evidence obtained after investigations on various charges including cyber crimes intervening in privacy of a judge," a police spokesman told newsmen after the arrest.

He said Rahman was expected to be arrested several weeks ago but police took some time to gather the evidence on the allegations while he was expected to be tried in speedy trial tribunal.

59-year-old Rahman''s arrest amid growing demands by non-partisan youngsters, waging a campaign for toughest punishment for 1971 war criminals under the banner of Ganajagaran Mancha, for carrying out a misleading propaganda calling them "atheists".

The ruling Awami league leaders accused the daily of inciting violence duringrecentpolitical unrest prompting the government to launch a virtual crackdown on BNP and arrest of nearly a dozen of its top leaders including the party''s acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir.

"Mahmudur Rahman has hurt the Muslims religious sentiment, which is totally unacceptable... he has been arrested to establish the rule of law," state minister for home Shamsul Haque Tuku said.

But Rahman angered the secular Ganajagaran Mancha for carrying out a protracted campaign to portray them as anti-Islamic while he continued to stay at the newspaper office to evade arrest since December last year when he was sued for sneaking into and publishing a Skype conversation between a judge and an expatriate Bangladeshi-born jurist.

"He published fabricated comments on Prophet Mohammad to portray us anti-Islamic and insight a religious tension... he himself has defamed the Islam and hurt our religious sentiment," Mancha''s spokesman Imran H Sarkar said in a reaction.

But, several Islamist groups staged a street protest against his arrest calling him a "courageous and true soldier of Islam".

Rahman was acting Editor at Amar Desh since 2008. BNP leader Mosaddek Ali Falu is the owner of the daily.

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