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Bangla lecturer posts derogatory Facebook status; lands in jail

January 04, 2012 16:58 IST

A university lecturer, who posted a Facebook status wishing for the death of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, was on Wednesday sentenced to six-month in jail by a Bangladeshi court.

Muhammad Ruhul Amin Khandaker was sentenced after he failed to respond to a summon to appear before the High Court in connection with the post, of which the court took a suo motto notice. Khandakar was handed out the jail term in absentia as he is studying in Australia.

"The High Court sentenced him (Khandaker) six months jail as he ignored the summon ordering his personal appearance over his comments in the Facebook," deputy attorney general A B M Altaf Hossain told newsmen.

He said the high court bench comprising Justice A H M Shamsuddin Choudhury Manik and Justice Jahangir Hossain, was yet to issue any order on the main allegation against the lecturer.

Khandaker, a lecturer of Information Technology at suburban Jahangirnagar University, is currently in Australia on an academic course but the court ordered the foreign office to take immediate steps to bring him back home through diplomatic channel.

The bench also asked police to arrest Khandaker immediately on his return and the university authorities to take punitive action against him according to law, which could result in him losing his job.

Khandaker had posted a status in his Facebook account after deaths of leading filmmaker Tareque Masud and journalist Ashfaque Munier Mishuk in a road crash in August last year saying why Sheikh Hasina does not die when many people were dying in road accidents in the country.

"Everyone dies, why not Hasina?" read the status, which Khandaker, however, deleted immediately after students wing of the ruling Awami League staged protests at the Jahangirnagar University demanding his punishment.

The high court on the same month in a "suo motto rule" asked Khandaker to explain in two weeks why he should not be prosecuted for his "derogatory comment" and ordered  last month his personal appearance to face a "contempt of court" charge as he did not respond to its earlier order.

The verdict came as the attorney general's office told the court that Khandaker received himself in Australia the Home Ministry notices notifying him the High Court order for his personal appearance and contempt of court rule but tended to defy the orders.

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