The Bangladesh authorities should immediately drop charges against and release four bloggers and a newspaper editor arrested this month, Human Rights Watch said today. All five are facing criminal charges solely related to the peaceful exercise of their right to free speech.
Human Rights Watch said the government should stop targeting individuals and media publishing stories the government deems objectionable and reaffirm its commitment to freedom of expression, a principle which the governing Awami League has long claimed to champion.
"By targeting peaceful critics in the media and blogosphere and promising more arrests, the government is abandoning any serious claim that it is committed to free speech," said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. "Bangladeshis should have the right to peacefully express their views, and the state should address these demands through the rule of law instead of embarking on politically motivated arrests."