Tuesday, 27 February 2007
MR Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury
by leave—I move the motion as amended:
That the Senate:
- the plight of Mr Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury, a Bangladeshi journalist who is on trial for sedition, an offence punishable by death, because as editor of an English-language newspaper he has been critical of Islamic extremism and has expressed his belief in interfaith dialogue, particularly between Christians, Muslims and Jews,
- that Mr Choudhury was detained in Dhaka Central Jail in November 2003 for passport violation, was charged with sedition, interrogated and was held in prison for 17 months without legal recourse until April 2005 when he was released on bail after intervention by the United States Department of State,
- that on 6 July 2006 Mr Choudhury’s newspaper offices were bombed by an Islamic extremist organisation after the newspaper published articles in support of the Ahmadiyya Muslim minority,
- that on 18 September 2006 a Bangladeshi judge ruled that Mr Choudhury would stand trial for sedition and that his trial commenced, only to be suspended when a state of emergency was declared in Bangladesh on 11 January 2007 and a caretaker government was installed by the military on 22 January 2007,
- that Mr Chouldhury’s trial has been suspended while the new government is established, and
- that the previous government admitted that there was no basis for the charges against Mr Choudhury and the Public Prosecutor testified that there was no evidence against him; and
- calls on the Government of Bangladesh to:
- ensure a fair trial for Mr Choudhury,
- ensure his confiscated possessions are returned, and
- investigate those responsible for his harassment and intimidation.
Question agreed to.