Bangladeshi faces sedition charge over Facebook post
A Bangladeshi high court on Sunday ordered police to prosecute a university lecturer for sedition after he wished for the death of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Facebook, a state prosecutor said.
The same court handed Jahangirnagar University teacher Ruhul Khandakar six months in jail last week for contempt of court after he failed to respond to repeated summonses to explain his Facebook posting.
“The court has directed police to file a sedition case against Khandakar immediately,” deputy attorney general Altaf Hossain told AFP.
The hearing was held in absentia as Khandakar, 29, is studying in Australia.
He posted the comments after the death of Bangladesh’s most famous filmmaker Tareq Masud in a road accident last year.
“Tareq Masud died as a result of government giving licence to unqualified drivers. Many die, why does not Sheikh Hasina die?” the posting said, according to a court official.
The comment, which Khandakar posted from Australia, has since been deleted.
Lawyers said this is the first time a Bangladeshi has been jailed and is being tried for sedition for making comments on a social networking site.
The case and sentence drew widespread scorn from the country’s vibrant blogging community and online commentators.