Breaking News: Former Bangladeshi Prime Minister Arrested By Military

Former Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina being arrested by military regime in Bangladesh
photo: Farjana K Godhuly, AFP

The Bangladesh military, which took power in a coup on January 11th this year, today in a pre-dawn raid arrested former Prime Minister and the leader of one of the two major political parties (the Awami League) in Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina, on unspecified "corruption" charges. Hasina is the daughter of Bangladesh’s founding president and independence leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Thirty-two years ago Sheikh Mujib and most of his family were gunned down by members of the Bangladesh military in a bloody coup that plunged the country into 16 years of military rule. Hasina and her younger sister were the only members of the family who survived the massacre because they were out of the country at the time. Three decades later it is the daughter that is now in the military’s hands.

Since taking power on January 11th, the military has been steadily consolidating its control over the country by locking up senior leaders of the two major political parties in Bangladesh on charges of "corruption". Today they have gone for the jugular by trying to decapitate the Awami League by arresting its leader. Sheikh Hasina had been increasingly vocal in recent weeks in her criticism of the military. The Bangladesh military does not take criticism well.

The situation in Bangladesh is fluid. Reports are still sketchy. There are reports of rioting in parts of the country. It is likely to get bloody from here.

Blogs covering the story:

Update (7/16/2007 2:53am): There are unconfirmed reports that Khaleda Zia, the immediate past Prime Minister and leader of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, the other major political party in Bangladesh, either has been arrested or will be arrested in the very near future. There has been violence in Dhaka University where protesters have clashed with police. Police have reportedly fired rubber bullets and there are reports of people being taken to the hospital.

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17 Responses to Breaking News: Former Bangladeshi Prime Minister Arrested By Military

  1. Tanoy says:

    Please read the follwing exculsive interview
    of Sajeeb wajed Joy to E-Bangladesh Editor

    Sushanta Das Gupta

  2. Instant Karma says:

    What a circus! Hasina initiates a kangaroo court against the Majors who took out her dictator dad, and now the military backed CTG has arrested Hasina.

    I am laughing my ass off right now after listening to Sajeeb Wajeb’s interview, and reading about AL sympathizers who are crying about constitutional rights, 2/3 majority votes, and military kangaroo courts blah blah blah. What do you want to bet that Hasina’s coward son, Sajeeb Wajeb, will hide in Cambridge while his mom rots in jail.

    Frankly, the arrest of Hasina is the second best thing that could happen to Bangladesh. The first would her conviction for murder and execution.

    From John Lennon:

    “Instant Karma’s gonna get you,
    Gonna knock you right on the head,
    You better get yourself together,
    Pretty soon you’re gonna be dead”=))

  3. Mash says:

    Instant Karma, nice try buddy. At least you admit in the first sentence that the Majors, including Mohiuddin, are murderers – thats a start. Its probably some important step in the 12-step program of coming to grips with a murderer’s guilt.

    You might consider learning what constitutes a fair trial. Calling a trial a “kangaroo court” by defenders of a murderer doesnt carry much credibility.

    Your “laughing [your] ass off” may make you feel better, but at the end of the day, the United States deported a convicted murderer as it should have.

  4. Hasib says:

    Hasina and her younger sister were the only members of the family who survived the massacre because they were out of the country at the time. Three decades later it is the daughter that is now in the military’s hands.


    Let the due process of law run its course.

    You seem to be implying that Hasina should not have been arrested because her family was murdered by some rebel army officers more than three decades ago.

    Why would you want to give her a slack when there is an extortion case against her?

    Just because she is daughter of Sheikh Mujib?

  5. Mash says:

    Hasib, I think I am all for the due process of law. I have advocated due process of law in these pages ad nauseam.

    I am also not naive. The military government in Bangladesh has a credibility problem. It has a credibility problem for a number of reasons, including and not limited to the following:

    • It came to power by power of its guns and has now held power unconstitutionally for over six months.
    • This military government suspended all fundamental rights including the right to due process, the freedom of speech, expression, assembly and has also banned criticism of the government. Under the current government, due process of law is not a right – but merely a wish.
    • It has failed to give due process to those it has detained. To date it has thrown in jail over 200,000 people and has set up special tribunals to try politicians for “corruption”. It has tortured and killed people in the process.
    • It has tried hard to first ban Hasina from the country and then, under international pressure, was forced to let her back into the country. Once back in the country, it tried unsuccessfully to muzzle her from criticizing the government. They have tried to pressure her to quit politics and have tried to gut the political parties by intimidation and threats. Now, they have brought a case against her and arrested her. It smacks of political engineering by the military.

    I have not demanded any more “slack” for her that I have not demanded for every other citizen of Bangladesh whose rights are being trampled by the military (feel free to read all my posts on this topic to disabuse you of any other notion). While others have cheered this military takeover, I have consistently stated my opposition to its behavior.

    It is worth pointing out that this military takeover looks and smells the same as the one in 1975 (updated, as I’ve noted elsewhere, for the information age). It is also worth noting that Sheikh Hasina, the daughter of Sheikh Mujib, finds herself in opposition to the military just like her father did three decades ago.

    I will not applaud or support military overthrow of a democratic system. No matter how much the “historical necessity” argument is raised by its supporters. No matter how satisfying it may be to those who benefit by destroying the political class of the country, I will not support it.

    In its “anti-corruption” drive the military will do a great disservice to Bangladesh because by their thuggish methods they will make it that much for difficult for the rule of law to prevail. It is the ultimate corruption of the system of government.

    So, let’s not kid ourselves.

  6. Sushanta Das Gupta says:

    E-Bangladesh Podcast: Tasneem Khalil with Abdul Gaffar Chowdhury:

    Have a look.

  7. Chowdhury says:

    Dear Mash, I really do not understand why people are supporting Hasina and opposing her arrest, just because she is daughter of Shaik Mojib. Should it be only criterion to measure her? Has this identity made her great and put her above the law? Don’t you remember how she and her counterpart Khaleda Zia raped the country for the last 16 years. Don’t you remember how they half killed 140 million people, how they have destroyed future of 140 million people. We could have had better future, but these two ladies had destroyed everything in the name of so called democracy. Now they are crying for democracy, but just remember the democracy they had practiced. They either destroyed or did not allowed to constitute any democratic institution for their own twisted interest to hide their corruption, killing, destruction and many such bad deeds. Just to name a few of these such institutions, ACC, judiciary, ECC, PSC. Now I hope you understand why they had paralyzed these institutions, now these institutions are independent and it was made in just 6 months by this CTG, just understand their willingness to make good to this country. These military backed CTG came as a rescuer to the 140 million people to rescue them from corruption, misrule, killing, destruction. People are treating 1/11 as another 16 December. 140 million people were extremely happy but these so called politicians including these two ladies seemed they had lost their opportunity to use citizens as tools to go to power or to be in power in the name of elective democracy.
    Now some force or something should come forward to save these helpless poor people of this unfortunate country where people are still badly hunting for stability, peace, confirmation of basic needs even after 36 years of independence. This military backed CTG or you can say this military govt. has taken away basic human rights, freedom of speech, free of press and many more. But believe me, I myself along with millions of people do not feel it, life is just normal and fine (except food price), I am coming to my office without fearing of hartal or aborodh, so is my son going to school everyday, my brother doing business without fearing of giving extortion to politicians or to their employed gundas, reading newspapers and they are delivering their news as usual, watching TV and also they are delivering their talk shows and news unbiased, do not see truckload of military personnel patrolling on the streets (which should be normal).
    But I can rather tell you basic human rights were violated during Khaleda/Hasina’s so called democracy, life was entirely opposite which I described in last sentence.
    Now you may say thousands of people were arrested in the last 6 months but 99% of them are corrupt politicians, land grabbers, political gundas etc. But common people are enjoying better life than 6 months ago. I think there are lot more I can write on these two ladies and on their pet twisted politicians.
    Hasina was arrested (Khaleda should also be) on an extortion case, this case was filed by a business man, this case may be false but what I do not understand that without proving it false in the court AL is just demanding her release and planning to create unrest. Hesaina was arrested just because she was not above the law, she is just like any other common people, why are we making her different from others, just because she was ex PM and daughter of Sheik Mozib. This kind of treatment in the last 36 years made this people above the law and they started thinking them untouchable. Now people are fearing of unrest in the country by AL activist and fearing of taking away normal happy daily livelihood. And this kind of unethical protest had saved politicians from trial and encouraged them to carry on their corruption, destruction, land grabbing, extortion, killing even more fearlessly. I remember sometime after 1/11, Hasina told that she could not have tried Tareq or Khaleda’s corruption just for the fear of hartal, aborod and andolons. And now she is doing the same thing, actually this is some kind of tricks of these so called political parties to save them from trial.
    So I think this case along with other corruption cases should be tried in the court and let the court decide her fate not by protest and disrupting common people life.
    We all have to remember by any means we do not want repetition of situation of before 1/11 and want a peaceful stable Bangladesh where our future generation will dream of better future.

  8. Instant Karma says:

    Chow (#7).

    It is refreshing to hear the opinion of a person actually residing in Bangladesh, rather than all of the pundits who live very comfortably here in the USA, and who are so out of touch with the situation that if they were to return to Bangladesh, they would appear as tourist.
    Your opinions are very welcome indeed.

    Now, to Joy and his apologists . . . why is he still here in the US? Didn’t he claim that he was going to fly to Dhaka right away to lobby for the release of his mom. Jeez . . . what a coward.

  9. Mash says:

    Instant Karma, how does your lawyer’s ethics square with the following comments from you:

    “Hasina initiates a kangaroo court against the Majors who took out her dictator dad…”

    It seems to me you are far too emotionally vested in your client’s murder defence. Yet you seem to be approving of the murders you claimed in court that your client was not a part of.

    I am not sure why you, as an American lawyer, would be so obsessed with Sajeeb Wajez Joy. I made no mention of Sheikh Hasina’s son in my post and I fail to see how it is relevant to her arrest.

    Your client was duly convicted of brutally murdering about two dozen people in 1975. Your appeals were duly rejected by the American courts at every turn and your client was deported from the United States lawfully.

    Your slightly unhinged tantrums about Sheikh Hasina’s son seem very unlawyerly and is frankly comical.

  10. instant karma says:

    mash, you are taking liberties associating me with a alleged “terrorist”. On this blog, i am just another joe bloggs offering my opinion about the current state of affairs in bangladesh. Should people posting in your blog be concerned that you are mining for information / violating privacy? I would expect that from Gonzalez et al, but not from a so called “anti torture” site.”

  11. Mash says:

    Instant Karma, when you send an email or post a comment on this and other blogs, your IP is recorded (for an example, try posting anonymously on Wikipedia and see what happens). You can probably see an example of that by looking at the sidebar to the right of this blog that tells people where visitors to this blog come from.

    If you want to maintain anonymity, please use a personal account through an ISP instead of posting comments from your law office (so that your law office’s IP does not show up when you post a comment). That may make you more anonymous.

    You have posted another hateful and slightly unhinged comment about the founding leader of Bangladesh on the Drishtipat group blog. You seem obsessed with Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and his family. I know that Mohiuddin AKM Ahmed felt that he needed to murder Mujib, but I find this kind of venom coming from his law firm bizarre and unbecoming of a lawyer.

    The of course, in your Drishtipat column, you go on to insult the entire Bangladeshi nation. You say:

    Sadly, I trust that there exists no Bangladeshi sophisticated enough to invetigate Hasina’s case, or prosecute it. Maybe India or Pakistan should take over, as Bangladesh is nothing more than a failed experiment of children playing politics and war games.

    [The emphasis was added by me.]

    Like I said, slightly unhinged.

  12. Robbie says:

    Instant Karma = Pwned by Mash l-)

  13. AsifY says:

    Thank you Mash for taking this fool to task. I was really pissed off at that comment about Bangladesh myself. What a bloody hypocrite! Goes on one blog and says that, comes here and says “Good to hear from someone who’s actually in Bangladesh and not the US.”

    Really is funny how Mohiuddin could both be “a patriot” to his supporters and at the same time his country can be reviled in the worst possible manner by them! You guys suffer from some very bad sort of personality disorder or what Instant Karma?

  14. ZaFa says:

    Guys, IK has been fed propaganda by his former client’s family who probably compensated him so well that he wouldn’t have to work ever in his life.

    Too bad he repeatedly failed to defend his client in the US court. He conveniently forgot to mention that it was the US judges who didn’t buy into the crap he tried to sell about his client’s involvement in the grisly mass murders.

    Could IK’s disgust with Joy have anything to do with the fact that Joy is married to a very successful lawyer who practices in the Capitol Hill, instead of defending murderers and fugitives?

    As for IK’s “offering my opinion about the current state of affairs in Bangladesh”…WTF? What makes him an expert on BD politics and justice system whose only exposure is through lies and more lies from a murderous scoundrel?!

  15. Mash says:

    Ahem, the definition of “pwned” can be found here.:d Thank you Robbie. \:d/

    AsifY, initially I found it bizarre that someone from the law firm defending Mohiuddin would be posting these unhinged comments. Then I found that it was newsworthy that the lawyer was launching ad hominem attacks against Sheikh Hasina’s son and spewing nonsense about Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s “ugly mug”. C’mon, who in their right minds thinks they will be taken seriously when they are making remarks about how a political figure looks?!? Way too much hatred there – and coming from the lawyer mind you!

    Zafa, right on! :)>-

  16. Tanoy says:

    Mash thanks and I think IK has learnt the big lesson. Thanks againt.

  17. Robert says:

    I agree with Instant Karma, What a circus!

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