Acting editor of Bangla daily, Amar Desh, Mahmudur Rahman, recently in news for his opposition to the country’s war crimes trial, was arrested on Thursday and put on remand.
Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Dhaka, placed Mr. Rahman on 13-day remand under cases filed for publishing the hacked Skype conversations between a former International Crimes Tribunal chairman and an expatriate Bangladeshi legal expert, last year. He was also charged for inciting political violence and obstructing police from discharging duties.
Youth demonstrators at Shahbagh had demanded Mr. Rahman’s arrest for inciting religious fanaticism.
A staunch Jamaat sympathiser, Mr. Rahman, also the former energy adviser of the past BNP-Jamaat-led alliance government, was also charged with hindering and stopping the functioning of the war crimes trial .The charges also include sedition, hatching conspiracy and hacking computer system.
The newspaper had published derogatory comments about Islam and Prophet Muhammad, the blame for which was thrust upon the Shahbagh protesters.
Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and Jamaat-e-Islami have condemned the arrest .
Earlier in June, 2010, Mr. Rahman was arrested in a fraud case filed by the daily’s publisher and was sentenced for six months and fined Tk 100,000 over sedition. On failure to comply, he was sentenced to one more month to prison by the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court.
Mr. Rahman, who was the Executive Chairman for Board of Investment Bangladesh after BNP-Jamaat alliance came to power in 2001, became the Energy Advisor to then Prime Minister Khaleda Zia.
Pro-Liberation groups alleged that Mr. Rahman was inciting violence, with some also saying that he was used as funding conduit by the Opposition alliance to pay off Hefazat-e-Islam, a recently floated radical Islamist group, for undertaking the recent Chittagong-Dhaka long march.