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Bangladesh activists jailed over report on security force killings

IANS | September 15, 2023 11:30 AM

DHAKA: A Bangladesh court has jailed two prominent human rights activists for two years each over their "distorted report and doctored images" on security force killings published in 2013, the media reported on Friday.

According to the local Daily Star newspaper, Adilur Rahman Khan and Nasiruddin Elan from the rights group Odhikar were sentence by a Dhaka court on Thursday in the case lodged under the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Act.

The court also cancelled their bail and ordered them to be sent to jail with conviction warrants.

Khan and Elan, who were present in the court during the hearing, were each fined 10, 000 taka in default of which they would have to serve an additional month in jail.

Public Prosecutor Mohammad Nazrul Islam Shamim told The Daily Star that they were not satisfied with the judgment and would appeal before the High Court.

Khan said he did not get justice from the court and that he will also appeal.

The case pertains to the May 5-6, 2013, police action on a Hefajat-e-Islam rally in Motijheel, Dhaka.

Their report claimed that 61 people died when the law enforcers forcefully removed several thousand Hefajat activists.

The government put the number of deaths at 13.

Khan and Elan were detained shortly after the report was published and then released on bail.

Condemning the verdict, Odhikar said: "As an organisation, Odhikar has drawn the sustained wrath of the establishment for becoming the voice of the victims of human rights violations, including those of enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, torture, arbitrary detention and against the suppression of free expression and assembly; and for its engagement with the United Nations Human Rights Mechanisms."

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