Arrests of Atheist Bloggers and Newspaper Editor in Bangladesh

Human Rights Watch reports, though I’ve also seen this in other sources, such as bdnews24.com, Reporters Without Borders, and Times of India (the latter heavily relying on the Human Rights Watch story):

[F]our bloggers and a newspaper editor … are facing criminal charges ….

Following the arrests of the bloggers, the government made clear that the restrictions and arrests will continue. The Home Minister announced that he had a list of seven other “atheist bloggers” who would be arrested soon. The Law Minister announced that the government intended to increase its control over social media, blogs, and online news websites.

On April 2 and 3, police arrested four bloggers, Subrata Adhikari Shuvo, Mashiur Rahman Biplob, Rasel Parvez, and Asif Mohiuddin, who had posted articles either critical of the government’s attempts to appease the Islamist demands or that said that the government had failed to address the concerns of minority religions. Police described the four as “known atheists and naturalists” who wrote derogatory things about the Prophet, and said the four would face charges of “instigating negative elements against Islam to create anarchy.” …

[O]n April 11 the police arrested Mahmdur Rahman, the editor of an opposition news outlet, Amar Desh. Rahman was subsequently charged with sedition and unlawful publication of a hacked conversation between the ICT judges and an external consultant. The conversations exposed political interference with the trials. The conversations were originally published by The Economist and later republished in Bangladesh by Amar Desh and other news organizations and websites….

The state minister for home affairs, speaking at a press conference, said that Rahman has “hurt Muslim religious sentiments.” … Earlier, on February 16, the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission had shut down the Sonar Bangla blog, known to be operated by Jamaat activists, for spreading “hate speech and causing communal tension.” …

Thanks to Prof. Howard Friedman (Religion Clause) for the pointer.