Four Dhaka University professors and 11 students who have been held since last August by Bangladesh’s military government have just been freed. Four students who are absconding have been convicted of "crimes" and sentenced to
4 2 years imprisonment.
The four professors – Dr. Anwar Hossain, Dr. Harun-or-Rashid, Dr. Sadrul Amin and Dr. Neem Chandra Bhowmik – and the 11 Dhaka University students have been acquitted of "crimes" they were charged with. The professors’ "crimes" amounted to marching in a procession protesting the beating of students at Dhaka University by the military last August. For their "crimes" they were held without bail by Bangladesh’s military government for 5 months.
Under both international and domestic pressure, last week the military government rather comically announced that regardless of what the verdict from the court was the professors would be set free. Today we have the fruits of the military government’s continuing mockery of justice. University professors who never should have been imprisoned to begin with have finally been freed in a kangaroo court.
The farce in Bangladesh has now turned another page.
UPDATE (1/21/2008 1:40am): The professors have not yet been freed. Apparently there is another case pending against the professors. They have been acquitted in one case only. The "verdict(s)" in the other case(s) will not come until perhaps tomorrow.
UPDATE 1/22/2008 1:58am): In the latest twist in the continuing farce, three of the professors have now been convicted and sentenced to 2 years in prison. E-Bangladesh has the details and a message from Dr. Anwar Hossain. There are reports of protests at Dhaka University campus and at other universities in Dhaka. The situation is volatile. Expect the military government to now show its "kinder gentler side" by "pardoning" the professors. This is a fast developing story.