Bangladesh police arrest lawyer-publisher tied to opposition

Members of the Newspaper Editors’ Council of Bangladesh form a human chain in front of National Press Club on October 15, demanding an amendment to the newly enacted digital law. (AFP)
Updated 23 October 2018
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Bangladesh police arrest lawyer-publisher tied to opposition

  • Detectives arrested Moinul Hosein after raiding an opposition leader’s home in Dhaka
  • Details of the charges were not immediately clear including whether they were related to a recently passed digital security law
DHAKA, Bangladesh: A prominent lawyer and newspaper publisher who is tied to Bangladesh’s political opposition has been arrested on defamation charges amid concern the government is acting tough on dissent ahead of national elections, police said Tuesday.
Detectives arrested Moinul Hosein late Monday after raiding an opposition leader’s home in the capital, said Mahbub Alam, a joint commissioner of the Detective Branch of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police.
Hosein is the publisher of the English-language New Nation daily and heads its editorial board.
Alam said the warrant issued by a court in northern Bangladesh on Monday involved a television talk show appearance where Hosein called a journalist “characterless” after she asked him if he represented the Jamaat-e-Islami party to a recently formed opposition alliance.
Details of the charges were not immediately clear including whether they were related to a recently passed digital security law.
The head of the alliance is another prominent lawyer and head of a smaller party, Kamal Hossain, who was chosen by prominent opposition figures and civil society members including Hosein.
The main party in the alliance is the Bangladesh Nationalist Party headed by former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, who is now in jail for corruption and whose elder son is the party’s heir-apparent and would face prison himself if he returned from London where he lives. Recently a court in Dhaka sentenced Tarique Rahman to life in prison for a 2004 grenade attack on then-opposition leader Sheikh Hasina, now prime minister, in which 24 people were killed. Hasina narrowly escaped.
The opposition alliance was formed this month in hopes of defeating the ruling alliance of Hasina in the next elections, which are expected to be held in December.
Jamaat-e-Islami is a close ally of Zia’s party, and Hasina’s government has executed almost all the party’s top leaders for their role in killings, arson and rape during Bangladesh’s independence war against Pakistan in 1971.
Hosein, who is a critic of Hasina, is expected to be produced before the court Tuesday. He was a former adviser to an army-backed caretaker government in 2006-2008 when both Hasina and Zia were arrested before Hasina came out and won the elections in 2008 to form the government.
Hosein’s arrest came hours after Hasina criticized his comment against the journalist and asked female journalists to file defamation charges against him.
The government has recently passed a digital security law, despite widespread criticism by journalists and rights groups that it would be used against freedom of speech and press freedom. The government says it has been enacted to protect the country from misinformation and propaganda.


Bulgaria: Killer of TV journalist gets 30 years in prison

Viktoria Marinova. (AFP)
Updated 22 min 45 sec ago
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Bulgaria: Killer of TV journalist gets 30 years in prison

  • Media watchdog Journalists Without Borders had accused authorities of trying to impede the inquest and sweep the crime under the carpet

SOFIA: A 21-year-old man was Monday sentenced to 30 years in prison for the brutal rape and murder of a Bulgarian television presenter, avoiding a life term after confessing to the crime.
Severin Krasimirov, also Bulgarian, was arrested in Germany where he had fled after assaulting and killing Viktoria Marinova on October 6.
A court in the northeastern Bulgarian city of Ruse also ordered him to pay 450,000 leva (230,000 euros, $259,000) to Marinova’s family.
Prosecutors said the crime was “linked to sexual motives and had no links to the profession of the victim.” They added that Krasimirov was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the “brutal rape.”
The court said Marinova, 30, was killed “in a particularly brutal manner” after being grabbed while jogging in an alley along the Danube.
She was due to present a new program in which she pledged to unveil serious cases of corruption.
Media watchdog Journalists Without Borders had accused authorities of trying to impede the inquest and sweep the crime under the carpet.