A total of twenty-seven people were arrested under Information and Communication Technology Act in August, the highest number of people arrested in a month so far this year under the law, according to the monthly report of Odhikar, a human rights body.
The report dedicated a section of it under the title ‘repressive laws’ to talk about the nature of the arrests.
‘Incidents of filing cases and imprisoning people under section 57 of the ICT Act for writing comments or even giving “like” on Facebook posts critical of high-level persons in the government or/and their family members, continued in August 2018,’ said the report.
It said that 23 people were arrested over the latest protests for safer road on charge of providing ‘publicity to false and confusing information’ and spreading ‘rumours and anti-state posts on Facebook/social media.’
The arrested persons were ill-treated while in the custody of the law enforcers and they included a pregnant schoolteacher, Nusrat Jahan Sonia, from Kolapara of Patuakhali, and an eminent photographer, Shahidul Alam.
‘Section 57 of the repressive Information and Communication Technology Act 2006 (Amended 2009 and 2013) curtails freedom of expression and is contrary to the Constitution,’ the report said.
Before August, eight people were arrested under the ICT act in January, February, May and July.
The report also said that as many as 24 people were killed in the incidents of ‘crossfire’ in August, taking the total number of people killed in crossfire since January to 361.
Four became victims of enforced disappearance in August too while four other died in jail, said the report.
At least 12 journalists were injured and 10 other assaulted as attacks on journalists apparently spiked in August compared to the previous months, showed the report.
Political violence killed two people and injured 252 in August, according to the report.
The report also recorded 50 incidents of rape during the time.
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