Bangladesh's pro-opposition newspaper editor sent to jail

2013-04-17 13:04:34 GMT2013-04-17 21:04:34(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

DHAKA, April 17 (Xinhua) -- After completion of his seven-day remand on Wednesday, the editor of a Bangladesh's pro-opposition newspaper was sent to jail in connection with a case filed over publication of a report on the Skype conversation.

Mahmudur Rahman, acting editor of the Bengali-language Daily Amardesh and one of the government's most vocal critics, was detained on April 11 from his office in Dhaka' s busy Karwanbazaar commercial district where he had been staying since the case against him was filed on Dec. 14, 2012 to evade arrest.

Quoting the case statement, a senior police officer had earlier said the charges brought against him include attempt of hindering the proceedings of the International War Crime Tribunal (ICT) dealing with the cases filed for committing war crimes against humanity during the nine-month war in 1971.

He said the charges brought against Rahman also include sedition and computer system hacking which the newspaper denied, saying it had collected the records of the conversation between a former judge of Bangladesh's ICT and Ahmed Ziauddin, a Bengali citizen who resides in Belgium, from a source abroad.

During Wednesday's hearing, the defense lawyers submitted two separate petitions in which they appealed for giving Rahman a first class division in jail.

The controversy surrounding the ICT proceedings virtually took a severe turn in Bangladesh since the local newspaper published a report titled "transcript of Skype conversation."

The ICT suffered a big jolt when the judge presiding over it resigned in January after the local newspaper published the report which showed that Ziauddin was playing an important role in the proceedings and that considerable pressure was being exerted by the Bangladeshi government to secure a quick verdict.

After returning to power in January 2009, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the daughter of Bangladesh's independence hero Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, established the first tribunal in March 2010, almost 40 years after the 1971 fight for independence from Pakistan.

The Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami party says Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's ruling Bangladesh Awami League party has targeted the party to split the Zia-led 18-party main opposition alliance in which Jamaat is a key ally.

Apart from eight Jamaat high-ups, a few leaders of ex-prime minister Khaleda Zia's Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) are also facing trials.

Leaders of Hasina's 15-party grand alliance say Khaleda Zia's BNP is supporting anarchy to save the war criminals and hinder the development of the country.

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