Bangladesh opposition says 4,000 charged in gov’t crackdown

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BNP says fake cases are being slapped on supporters as HRW accuses authorities of targeting opposition political parties.

Thousands of party activists in Bangladesh have been hit with “fake” charges of violence in a widespread crackdown by authorities, the opposition has said, as a prominent human rights group expressed concerns.

Opponents of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina – whose government faces a general election next year and is accused of rights abuses – have held protests across the country in recent months over power cuts.

They are also demanding the polls should be held under a neutral, caretaker government.

Some of the demonstrations were marred by violence.

Sairul Kabir Khan, a spokesman for the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), said that since August 22, police had charged at least 4,081 named party supporters and leaders in what he called trumped-up or “fake” charges related to the violence.

Another 20,000 unidentified BNP supporters had also been charged, he added – a tactic that rights activists say gives police sweeping power to harass any opposition supporters who may or may not have attended a rally.

 

Agencies

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