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B’desh closes opposition mouthpiece, jails editor

Last Updated: Wednesday, June 2, 2010 - 21:52

Dhaka: A Bangladesh court on Wednesday jailed
the editor of the mouthpiece of the opposition BNP of
ex-premier Khaleda Zia, following a night long siege at its
office after the newspaper was proscribed by the government.

Earlier today, the Bangladesh police arrested the
editor, Mahmudur Rahman of BNP mouthpiece Amar Desh.

"Police stormed the newspaper office early this
morning and arrested our acting editor Mahmudur Rahman," chief
reporter of the daily Syed Abdal Ahmed told agency.
Witnesses and reports said police was trying to arrest
Rahman but were held out by the journalists and staff of the
newspaper since shortly before midnight as the deputy
commissioner`s office earlier late yesterday declared Desh`s
publication illegal.

The arrest capped a 17-hour drama played out after the
paper`s publisher Hashmat Ali, who himself was briefly
"detained" by police, sued Rahman on Tuesday night.

Ali alleged that Rahman snatched away the ownership
of the paper through fraudulence while its "real owner"
Mosaddek Ali Falu was in jail on a graft charge under
emergency rules during the past military backed interim

A senior journalist of the newspaper Hassan Hafizur
Rahman earlier said that police shut down their press as the
daily came up with its first edition late night yesterday
hours after the government order scrapping the declaration.
The copies of the edition also were not allowed to
be circulated while Rahman yesterday alleged that police shut
the press without showing the papers of the order cancelling
the declaration.

Rahman was subsequently produced before a Dhaka
court where the magistrate ordered him to be sent to jail
while police brought a new charge against the former
technocrat adviser to the ex-premier for "obstructing
policemen" from arresting him.

The state-run BSS news agency said police sought to
remand Rahman in custody for five days to interrogate him on
the charge alleging raised resistance with the help of the
staff and newsmen of his newspaper as well as activists of the
BNP as police went there to his office with arrest warrant.

Magistrate Mohammad Nazrul Islam, however, rejected
the police prayer for the remand as well as the petition by
his lawyers for bail but allowed police to quiz Rahman in jail
gate within next three days on the charge.

Dhaka’s district magistrate and deputy commissioner
Mohibul Haque earlier said he cancelled the declaration of the
newspaper as "it has no publisher" as the previous publisher
Hasmat Ali, in writing, notified him two months ago that "he
is no longer the publisher of the newspaper."

But, as of yesterday, Amar Desh was published with
Ali`s name as the publisher of the newspaper in the printer`s

Meanwhile, BNP has called a countrywide protest
against Rahman`s arrest with the party secretary general
Khandaker Delwar Hossain announcing the programme at a press
conference also demanding his immediate release withdrawal of
the government decision to shut the Desh`s publication.

The pro-opposition journalists union also staged a
protest at the National press Club while they also planned a
protest on the Dhaka streets against the "government
aggression on media freedom."


First Published: Wednesday, June 2, 2010 - 21:52
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