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ACHR PRESS RELEASE
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ACHR Index: PR/BD/03/07
11 April 2007

ACHR condemns murder charges against Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh

New Delhi: Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) condemned filing of murder charges today against leader of Awami League, Sheikh Hasina by the Bangladeshi authorities for alleged attacks on the Islamic fundamentalists in Dhaka in October 2006.

“This is nothing but an afterthought of the military backed interim government to ensure that Sheikha Hasina, who is on a private tour in the United States, does not return to the country.” –stated Mr Suhas Chakma, Director of Asian Centre for Human Rights.

Earlier on 9 April 2007, a criminal complaint was filed against Hasina by Tajul Islam Farook Chairman of Westmont Power Company, for allegedly extorting Taka 3 crores during her premiership. Despite filing of the criminal complaint, Hasina had decided to return.

The charges of murder against Hasina falls under serious offences and despite the amendment of the Emergency Powers Rules of 2007 on 8 April 2007, she cannot seek bail until the conclusion of the hearing. The amendments of the Emergency Powers Rules fall short of international human rights standards and violate cardinal principle of presumption of innocence until proven guilty.

Asian Centre for Human Rights stated that the silence of international community against systematic abrogation of the rule of law and due process of law by the military backed Care-taker government has encouraged the authorities to take such draconian measures to silence any form of political opposition.

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