• Sunday, Dec 05, 2021
  • Last Update : 11:11 am

Amnesty to Bangladesh: Release teenage girl detained for Facebook post

  • Published at 10:20 am November 25th, 2021
justice DSA digital
Photo: BIGSTOCK

Seventeen-year-old Dipti Rani Das has been in a correctional centre since October last year

Amnesty International has called for the release of a Bangladeshi teenager who has been detained for more than a year over a social media post.

“Bangladeshi authorities must immediately release Dipti Rani Das, a 17-year-old girl who has been languishing at a correction facility for more than a year, simply for a Facebook post,” the rights body said on Thursday in an Urgent Action addressed to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.  

Booked under the Digital Security Act (DSA) on charges of hurting religious sentiment and advancing to deteriorate law and order, Dipti could face up to seven years in jail. 

"You cannot be not concerned by such forms of punishment that seizes critical, formative years of a child's life simply for a Facebook post. It shows how repressive laws like the Digital Security Act can effectively traumatize an individual,” the statement quoted Amnesty’s South Asia Campaigner, Saad Hammadi. 

“Deepti Rani Das should be in school, not in detention," he added.

Amnesty also called on the authorities to ensure protection of Ditpi, her family and other members of the minority groups in Bangladesh from communal or politically motivated attacks, release all those detained solely for exercising their right to freedom of expression and repeal the Digital Security Act or amend it in line with international human rights law.

Dipti was arrested in Dinajpur on October 28, 2020 for a Facebook post which contained a photograph of a woman keeping the Islamic holy book Quran in between her thighs.

Concerned over the impact that the Facebook post may have had on Dipti, her father went to the police station with his family to seek a resolution upfront the same day. There, they saw a gathering of about 100 religious clerics who came to file a case against her, according to the Amnesty statement.

They apologized verbally to the people present at the police station for the Facebook post, which some people at the police station livestreamed on social media. The family also submitted a written apology to the local police chief. 

The livestreamed apology further agitated some people in the neighbourhood, who then attacked the home of Dipti and her family later that evening.

Afraid of further attacks, Dipti’s  father tried to send her daughter away for some days to a relative’s home by train. However, she was stopped at the train and taken to the police station by several individuals who demanded that she be punished for posting the photograph.

Arrested on October 28, 2020, she has since been in detention at a correction facility in Rajshahi and could face up to seven years in jail if convicted. 

After being denied bail three times at a lower court, a High Court granted her bail on May 11, 2021. However, the bail order was stayed through an appeal by the deputy commissioner of Dinajpur.

“I wish that my daughter has the opportunity to freely move in the society, complete her education and build a future. I request the government to relieve her from this case in consideration of her future,” her father told Amnesty.

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