(AsiaNews) - A court in Dhaka
has sentenced four bloggers for having "insulted Islam, the Prophet Muhammad and other religions" through "offensive posts" on the internet. As explained by Judge Zahurul Haque,
the young people violated the Information and Communications Technology Act
and risk a sentence from 7 to 14
years in prison.
Arrested in April last year, the bloggers are Asif Mohiuddin, Subrata Adhikari Shuvo, Moshiur Rahman Biblop and Rasel Parvez and declare themselves atheists. At the time of their arrest, the police claimed they had "ample evidence" and seized computers, modems and external hard drives. However Jotyrmoy Barua, their lawyer says the allegations were fabricated to frame the young people.
Bangladesh authorities have been monitoring all "anti-religious activities" for months now, with a particular focus on blogs that have become very popular places of debate. In fact, they are used in particular by lay Shahbag activists, a movement that takes its name from a district of Dhaka, where it held its first peaceful demonstrations against the war crimes committed by the Islamic party Jamaat-e-Islami in 1971. The secular nature of Shahbag and the request not to use religion for political purposes has attracted the ire of supporters of the Islamist party, which is targeting the bloggers to target the government.
Tension mounted further following the murder of Asif Mohiuddin, one of the leaders of the movement, stabbed during a protest on January 14.