Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Bangladesh Arrests Facebook Critic of Hajj Deaths On Charges Of Insulting Islam

Last week, the free speech advocacy group Article 19 called attention to the September 26 arrest in Bangladesh of Mohon Kumar Mondal, the leader of a Bangladeshi environmental organization, on charges of offending religious sentiments of Muslims.  After the death of hundreds in a crush and resulting stampede during the Hajj (see prior posting), Mohon published a Facebook posting criticizing Saudi Arabia's security arrangements at Mina, Saudi negligence in dumping dead bodies from the stampede, and questioning the rationality of the Hajj ritual of stoning the devil at Mina. Police arrested Mohon after a local political leader filed charges against him under Section 57 of the Information Communication and Technology Act.  That section prohibits the deliberate publication or transmission online of material which hurts or is likely to hurt religious sentiments.  Article 19 called for Mohon's release.