Bangladeshi authorities must immediately stop harassing and intimidating the family members of exile blogger Asad Noor and other human rights defenders, Amnesty International said today.
"The harassment of families, to muzzle human rights defenders in exile from Bangladesh, is utterly reprehensible. Such tactics of intimidation must be stopped immediately," said Sultan Mohammed Zakaria, South Asia Researcher at Amnesty International.
"Instead, the authorities have the responsibility to prevent and effectively address allegations of human rights abuses and ensure a safe and enabling environment for human rights defenders, including by carrying out prompt and independent investigations and bringing suspected perpetrators to justice," he added.
Asad Noor was sued on under the Digital Security Act, accusing him of "hurting religious sentiments" and "running propaganda against the spirit of the liberation" on July 20.
Asad being exiled from Bangladesh, police raided his parent's house several times, kept them in detention and urged them to tell Asad to remove his content and not write anything further against the government or it's officials otherwise he will face persecution, said the Amnesty statement.
The statement also mentioned the incidents of military intelligence members visiting Sweden-based Bangladeshi journalist Tasneem Khalil's parental residence in Sylhet and another expatriate blogger's parent's residence in Noakhali.
"Bangladeshi authorities must respect the rule of law, guarantee people's right to freedom of expression, and stop targeting families to silence human rights defenders. The Digital Security Act, which has become a central tool of muzzling dissent online, must be amended in compliance with international human rights law," said Sultan.