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|September 25, 1998||
Fresh warrant for Taslima's arrest
Bangladesh has revived its four-year-old arrest order for controversial author Taslima Nasreen, who faces a death threat from Muslim fundamentalists for blasphemy.
The order, issued in 1994 on a petition filed by a Dhaka resident, was revived more than a week after Nasreen, who was in self-imposed exile in Europe, returned home on September 14, and was hounded into hiding.
Lokman Hossain, the judge who revived the arrest warrant, also ordered the confiscation of Nasreen's property for not appearing in court.
Petitioner Joynul Abedin complained that Nasreen had attacked Islam in her Nirbachityo Column (Selected columns), a book compiling articles she wrote in newspapers.
This was in addition to a criminal case that former prime minister Khaleda Zia's government filed in 1994, accusing Nasreen of blaspheming Islam. She was later freed on bail.
The police at Dhaka's Motijheel district, where the 36-year-old author's apartment is located, said they were yet to receive the latest arrest warrant.
A member of Nasreen's family said he had no information of the case.
Immediately on arrival, the author had said she risked her life to return only to stay with "my mother in her last days.'' Her 60-year-old mother, Eid-ul-Ara Begum, underwent treatment in New York for colon cancer.
Nasreen's return had provoked street protests by Islamic activists, who have renewed a cash reward of 200,000 takas ($ 5,000) for anyone who kills her.
Bangladesh has banned her controversial novel Lajja (Shame), the beginning of Nasreen's troubles and international fame, on the ground that it incites communal discord.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who took over from Khaleda Zia in 1996, has shown little interest in pursuing Nasreen's trial, but her liberal government is now under pressure from Islamic groups.
Several Islamic parties have planned fresh street protests.
Though Bangladesh is predominantly a Muslim country, it is governed by secular laws. A small group of conservative Muslims want to introduce Islamic laws.
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