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Dhaka Tribune

EU urges Dhaka to foster enabling environment for civil society

  • Freedom of expression essential in democratic society
  • EU followed the Odhikar case closely
Update : 15 Sep 2023, 10:38 PM

The EU called on the government of Bangladesh to foster an enabling environment for civil society to carry out their work without fear of reprisals. 

“Freedom of expression, freedom of association, and a vibrant civil society are essential in a democratic society,” the EU said following the two-year jail sentence of Adilur Rahman Khan, secretary of Odhikar, and ASM Nasiruddin, director of the organization, on charges under the Information and Communication Technology Act 2006.

They were convicted for disseminating false death figures regarding an operation against Hefazat-e-Islam members at Shapla Chattar in Dhaka a decade ago.

"The EU has followed the Odhikar case closely and has repeatedly raised with the Bangladeshi authorities the need for due process for Odhikar’s leadership," it said in a statement.

"The EU has also expressed its concern about the deregistration of Odhikar, which has made it excessively difficult for the organization to function."

A Dhaka court sentenced Adilur Rahman Khan, the secretary of Odhikar, to two years in prison on Thursday.

He was convicted of disseminating false information regarding an operation against Hefazat-e-Islam members at Shapla Chattar in Dhaka a decade ago.

ASM Nasiruddin, the director of Odhikar, also received a two-year prison sentence in the same case and both were fined Tk10,000 each.

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