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Bangladesh court sentences 9 politicians to life in prison for murder of journalist

A court in Bangladesh on Friday sentenced nine politicians from the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) [party website] to life imprisonment for the murder of journalist Gautam Das [CPJ backgrounder] in 2005. Shortly before his murder, Das published a series of reports [AFP report] detailing corruption by BNP officials. The International Press Institute (IPI) [advocacy website], a press freedom advocacy group, applauded the court's ruling [BBC report]. Das's widow, however, expressed disappointment with the sentencing, saying that the nine politicians deserved the death penalty.

Bangladesh [JURIST news archive] has drawn a great deal of international attention recently for its handling of political violence. On Monday the International Crimes Tribunal Bangladesh (ICTB) [official website] ordered Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin and Ashrafuzzaman Khan to be tried in absentia [JURIST report] for the murders of 19 intellectuals and 11 crimes against humanity committed during the 1971 independence war. Earlier this month the Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission [official website] lifted the country's ban [JURIST report] against YouTube [website], which had been in effect for several months after an anti-Islam movie appeared on the site and sparked violence in the Middle East. In May, the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women urged [JURIST report] the government of Bangladesh to address the prevalent acts of violence against women occurring in the country. Earlier in May Bangladeshi authorities arrested Jamaat-e-Islami party (JI) [party website, in Bengali] leader AKM Yusuf [official website, in Bengali] on charges of crimes against humanity allegedly committed during the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War [GlobalSecurity backgrounder].

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