Friday, April 05, 2013

Bangladesh: Four Bangladeshi bloggers arrested for "blasphemous" posts


Reporters Without Borders

Blogger Asif Mohiuddin arrested over "blasphemous" blog posts

In a subsequent development, Asif Mohiuddin, a militant atheist blogger who has been hounded by Bangladeshi Islamists and officials, was arrested on 3 April by the Detective Branch of the Dhaka police and interrogated about his recent posts. According to the police, there was a possibility he would be taken before a judge on 4 April.

"We call for Mohiuddin's immediate and unconditional release," Reporters Without Borders said on 3 April. "After being the victim of a knife attack in January, he is in very poor health and needs constant medical attention. The Detective Branch told us he is being 'treated well' but the opposite is happening - he continues to be held in deplorable conditions of hygiene and lack of access to medical treatment.

"The persecution of atheist bloggers is the result of a political desire to restrict freedom of expression and reinforce censorship in the name of combating blasphemy. The home ministry's announcement that seven other bloggers are to be arrested is meant to discourage news providers. This is unacceptable and contrary to all the fundamental freedoms we defend."

Reached by telephone on 3 April, the Detective Branch told Reporters Without Borders that Mohiuddin would remain in detention until taken before a judge, possible at noon on 4 April. As of 3 April, he had no lawyer.

Mohiuddin was arrested for posting "anti-religious" comments on his blog, which the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) blocked on 31 March.

Police investigators already questioned Mohiuddin about his blog on 23 March.

Mohiuddin was badly wounded in an apparent murder attempt in Dhaka on 14 January. Another blogger, Ahmed Rajib Haider, was found hacked to death in a Dhaka street a month later, on 15 February.