Four university teachers condemned to harsh prison sentences for participating in a silent procession

Press release

The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and ODHIKAR, its member organization in Bangladesh, express their deepest concern at the condemnation, on 4 December 2007, of four teachers of Rajshahi University: Professors Moloy Bhoumik of management department, Dulal Chandra Biswas, Sayed Selim Reza Newton and Abdullah Al Manun of mass communication department were sentenced to two years rigorous imprisonment for bringing out a silent procession on 21 August, 2007.

On August 20, the student protest at Dhaka University started with the manhandling of some students by army at the University gymnasium field and clashes took place between the students and police left many students injured. In this context, there was a silent protest procession at Rajshahi University campus took place on August 21. On 22 August, the students gathered to demand the lifting of the state of emergency and the removal of the police camp from the Rajshahi University campus. The protest was violently repressed (1). The security forces arrested professors of Rajshahi and Dhaka University.

Yesterday, two professors of Rajshahi University have been released but four others have been condemned to harsh prison sentences for violating the Emergency Powers Rules 2007.

FIDH and Odhikar recall that a state of emergency was proclaimed on 11 January 2007 in Bangladesh, when a military-backed caretaker government came to power. FIDH and Odhikar call upon the government of Bangladesh to immediately lift the state of emergency and restore fundamental rights guaranteed in the Constitution. All persons detained under the Emergency Rules should be charged with an existing criminal offense or immediately released. The right to a fair trial should be guaranteed in all circumstances and media, political parties and trade unions should be allowed to function freely.

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