Amnesty International has urged the Bangladesh government to immediately release teenager Dipti Rani Das, who has been in a correctional facility in Rajshahi since October last year.
The 17-year old was booked under Digital Security Act on charges of "hurting religious sentiment" and "advancing to deteriorate law and order". She could face up to seven years in jail if found guilty.
"She should be released immediately," said a statement issued by Amnesty International.
Amnesty International South Asia Campaigner Saad Hammadi said, "You cannot be not concerned by such forms of punishment that seizes critical and formative years of a child's life simply for a Facebook post. It shows how repressive laws like the Digital Security Act can effectively traumatize an individual. The state is the guardian of its people. Instead of providing protection, we have a teenage girl languishing at a correction facility for more than a year. Deepti Rani Das should be in school, not in detention."
The rights group has also International called on the authorities to ensure the protection of Ditpi Rani Das, her family and other members of the minority groups in Bangladesh from communal or politically motivated attacks, release all those detained solely for exercising their right to freedom of expression and repeal the Digital Security Act or amend it in line with international human rights law, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Reportedly, Dipti Rani Das was arrested from Dinajpur last year on 28 October over a Facebook post that contained a photograph of a woman keeping the Islamic holy book Quran in between her thighs.
Following the incident, her father went to the police station with his family to seek a resolution where they saw about 100 religious clerics who came to file a case against her. At the time, he apologized verbally to the people present at the police station and to the Muslim community for the Facebook post, which some people at the police station live-streamed on Facebook. The family also submitted a written apology to the local police chief.
However, the live-streamed apology further agitated some people in the neighbourhood, who then attacked the home of Dipti Rani Das and her family later that evening.
Fearful of further attacks, Dipti Rani Das's father tried to send her daughter away for some days to a relative's home by train but she was stopped at the train and taken to the police station by several individuals who demanded that she be punished for posting the photograph.
The teenager since then has been detained at a correction facility in Rajshahi. After being denied bail three times at a lower court, a High Court granted her bail on 11 May. However, the bail order was stayed through an appeal by the deputy commissioner of Dinajpur.
"I wish that my daughter has the opportunity to freely move in the society, complete her education and build a future. I request the government to relieve her from this case in consideration of her future," Dipti Rani Das's father told Amnesty International.