This story is from Human Rights Watch (HRW):
Bangladesh authorities have arrested four people and charged seven others for “spreading rumors and misinformation on Facebook,” because they criticized the government’s response to Covid-19, Human Rights Watch said today. The authorities should immediately drop all charges, which appear to violate freedom of expression, release the four people in custody, and repeal the draconian Digital Security Act (DSA).
According to the First Information Report (FIR) filed with Ramna Police Station, the 11 are being charged under the overbroad and widely misused Digital Security Act for “knowingly posting rumors against the father of the nation, the liberation war, and the coronavirus pandemic to negatively affect the nation’s image,” and to “cause the law and order situation to deteriorate.”
“It is only an insecure and authoritarian government that uses a pandemic to arrest cartoonists, journalists, and activists,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Instead of filing cases that could result in life imprisonment simply for posting satire, the ruling Awami League should take note of the criticism and try to address any gaps in the government’s response to Covid-19.”
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