Bangladesh: Regime's Cruel Exercise of Power

By M. ABDULJALIL - Friday, 30 July 2010

The recent developments in Bangladesh are like an old nightmare that is beginning again: arbitrary arrests, closure of TV channels, news papers, attacks on journalists, torture of detainees and intimidation. We thought Bangladesh had rid itself of the old demons of intolerance and violence. But certain government officials have again chosen the road of repression.

If Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina does not take decisive steps, Bangladesh is likely to relapse into a period of brutality and intolerance.

Historically, Awami League has always been against freedom of the press. On June 16, 1975, the then Awami League government had closed all newspapers except four; under government control and banned all other political parties.

Since this regime came to power in early 2009, it has arrested hundreds of opposition leaders, jurnalists and tortured many, including the arrest of editor Mahmudur Rahman of 'Amar Desh', Mahmudur Rahman has been the target mainly for his writings about Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s sons involvement in financial corruptions.

More arrests
‘The arrest of three Jamaat leaders on Tuesday was condemned nationwide, hundreds of supporters were detained across the country; Jamaat issued a statement Wednesday saying; 'The government has ill political motive behind the arrest and is trying to conceal its failure through these repressive and vindictive actions.... 'no government can remain in power resorting to oppression and persecution.'

Earlier this week Over 200 people were arrested in the first strike since elections. The unrest comes as frustration has been growing in over frequent power cuts and deteriorating law and order, among other issues. The strike was called to protest against  the Awami League government's failure to provide basic services such as power, water and gas and against "arbitrary" arrests and harassment of opposition activists.

Some observers believe that the situation cannot go on like this, so the country would inevitably face another upheaval. But if that were to happen its outcome remains very much uncertain.


Bangladesh: Regime's Cruel Exercise of Power [+]
The State of Democracy and Political Freedom in Bangladesh [+]

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