South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR) expresses concern over a recent High Court decision to summon Dr. Asif Nazrul, a constitutional law expert, over a comment he made recently on a talk show on a private television channel.

A law professor at the University of Dhaka, Dr. Nazrul has been writing on legal and political issues for several years, in various newspapers and journals.

The comment in question centred on the current confrontational politics between the Prime Minister and the leader of the opposition.

Following his comments, a High Court bench summoned Dr. Nazrul to explain his conduct at a hearing on 22nd March 2012. Further, the High Court has issued a rule asking the Home Secretary and the IGP of Police, to explain why charges of sedition have not been brought against Dr. Nazrul.

SAHR notes that in his comments Dr. Nazrul did not in any way suggest that any party would come to power by any means that may be considered undemocratic and that his comment should not form the basis for a charge of sedition. The fundamental right of the citizen to freedom of thought, conscience, and speech is guaranteed in the Bangladeshi Constitution, and citizens should not be threatened or prosecuted for exercising that right.

SAHR hopes that the right to freely express one’s personal opinion, will be respected in this case, and in the future, and that the rights guaranteed to the citizens of Bangladesh by the Constitution will always be defended and upheld by the High Court of Bangladesh.

On behalf of South Asians for Human Rights,

Hina Jilani                                                                           Dr. Nimalka Fernando

Chairperson                                                                        Co-Chairperson