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Bangladesh releases Muhammad cartoonist

[JURIST] Bangladeshi authorities Thursday released a cartoonist detained for allegedly insulting the Muslim prophet Muhammad after the police official pressing charges against him repeatedly failed to appear in court. Arifur Rahman was arrested [RSF report; JURIST report] in September after the magazine Alpin, a subsidiary of Prothom Alo [media website, in Bangladeshi], published a cartoon that he created depicting a young boy and his "Muhammad cat." The cartoon sparked protests by Bangladeshi Muslims who demanded that the cartoonist, editor and publisher be arrested. AP has more. E-Bangladesh has local coverage.

Separate cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad [JURIST news archive] sparked controversy last month when Danish newspaper Jyllands-Poste [media website] reprinted a cartoon [image; JURIST report] drawn by Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard. Westergaard was one of 12 cartoonists who published cartoons [Le Monde slideshow] of the Muslim prophet Muhammad in 2005 that led to widespread protests across the Islamic world. In January, a former newspaper editor in Belarus was sentenced to three years in prison [JURIST report] for reprinting the cartoons in the Zhoda newspaper. On Wednesday, a tape recording allegedly made by Osama bin Laden was released, threatening retaliation against European Union countries [Reuters report] for reprinting the cartoons.

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