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Bangladesh: New ICT Law Aimed at Gagging Oppn Voice BNP
Source: unbconnect.com
Source Date: Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Focus: E-Education
Country: Bangladesh
Created: Oct 15, 2013

Criticising the government for passing the Information and Communication Technology (Amendment) Bill, 2013, opposition BNP on Wednesday alleged that the law is aimed at suppressing the opposition and other critics.

“The government has made the ICT law to gag the voice and opinions of the opposition and thus reestablish one-party Baksal rule,” said BNP acting secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi.

The BNP leader came up with the allegation at a press briefing at BNP’s Nayapaltan central office.

On October 6, parliament passed the unassailable bill, ‘Information and Communication Technology (Amendment) Bill, 2013’, providing harsher punishments for the abuse of information technology.

According to the amended bill, the jail term for the abuse of the ICT Act has been extended to minimum seven years and maximum 14 years against maximum 10 years of the ‘ICT Act 2006’. Besides, the police have been given the authority to arrest anyone without arrest warrant, and the offence is termed nonbailable.

As per the amended law, permission will not be required from the Home Ministry to file any case against such offender, which was mandatory in the previous law.

Terming the law a fascist one, Rizvi said the government will harass people using the law in the name of maintaining law and order.

Rizvi also demanded the immediate release of National University teacher Wahiduzzaman reportedly arrested under the law for posting a status on Facebook defaming the family members of the Prime Minister.

He also alleged that the government is harassing Barrister Fakhrul Islam, the counsel for the condemned convict BNP standing committee member Salauddin Quader Chowdhury, over the leak of the verdict of the International Crimes Tribunal-1.

Mentioning that the government also harassing Khulna divisional BNP leader Moshiur Rahman by filing a ‘false’ case against him, Rizvi said the BNP leaders are being harassed to resist the opposition’s movement seeking restoration of the caretaker government system.

“But the government won’t be able to resist us by resorting to harassment, attack and filing false cases against opposition leaders and activists,” he added.

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