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Anger in Bangladesh over dissident writer’s death in prison

Mushtaq Ahmed was arrested last year under the Digital Security Act in Bangladesh. Ahmed, 53, died on Thursday in the Kashimpur jail, 32 kilometers from the capital Dhaka. Widespread anger has broken out after the dissident writer’s death and the cause of death is not clear. Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan ordered an investigation into the incident Friday. 

Ahmed was arrested last May 6 under the DSA for social media comments that critiqued the government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. He was charged with spreading rumors on social media, tarnishing the image of Sheikh Mujibu Rahman and “hurting the spirit of the 1971 liberation war.” He was denied bail. Under the DSA there is a jail sentence for up to 14 years for any campaign against the country’s independence war, founding father, Sheikh Mujibu Rhaman, the national anthem or flag. Ahmed’s death triggered protests near Dhaka University on Friday demanding a repeal of the DSA.

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