Cases under DSA remain a grave concern, says the human rights organization
ARTICLE 19, a United Kingdom-based international human rights organization, has welcomed the judgements of the court against the murderers of free thinkers like Avijit Roy and Foisal Arefin Dipon, saying that the verdicts have broken the cycle of impunity in the country.
However, the organization has urged the authorities to remit humane sentences of the accused as ARTICLE 19 does not support capital punishment, said in a media statement.
On Tuesday, five extremists of Ansar al-Islam were sentenced to death while another was sentenced to lifetime imprisonment over the brutal murder of writer-blogger Avijit Roy six years ago.
Earlier on February 10, eight leaders and members of Ansar al-Islam were sentenced to death for the murder of publisher Foisal Arefin Dipon.
Faruq Faisel, regional director of ARTICLE 19 Bangladesh and South Asia, said: “We agree with the remarks of the Anti-Terrorism Special Tribunal that the aim of these murders was to throttle freedom of expression and create an atmosphere of fear so that none can express their views.”
“We expect that the government will make greater efforts and ensure better security that aims to guarantee people's right to freedom of expression and information,” he added.
However, the human rights organization pointed out that at the same time many journalists, bloggers, writers and cartoonists were facing charges under the Digital Security Charge (DSA), which remained a grave concern.
ARTICLE 19 said photojournalist Shariful Islam Kajol, cartoonist Ahmed Kabir Kishore, writer Mushtaq Ahmed and Rashtrachinta Dhaka coordinator Didarul Bhuiyan faced charges under the DSA.
The organization expressed its concern that the DSA granted a carte blanche to the government to suppress any critical voices, read the statement.
It also said that journalists and media workers in Bangladesh were facing physical assault at an alarming rate.
ARTICLE 19 urged that all those involved in killing and attacking journalists, bloggers and writers be brought to justice.
It also demanded, once again, that all journalists arrested under the DSA be released and that the harassment of those exercising the right to freedom of expression and information end.