Urgent Action: TEENAGE GIRL DETAINED FOR FACEBOOK POST (Bangladesh: UA 120.21)

November 24, 2021

Dipti Rani Das, a 17-year-old girl from the Hindu minority community in Bangladesh, was arrested by the police for a Facebook post and has been held at a correction facility for more than a year, since October 28, 2020. Booked under the country’s draconian Digital Security Act on vague charges of “hurting religious sentiment” and “advancing to deteriorate law and order”, she could face up to seven years in jail. She should be released immediately.

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TAKE ACTION:

  1. Please take action as-soon-as possible. This Urgent Action expires on January 19, 2022
  2. Write a letter in your own words or using the sample below as a guide to one or both government officials listed. You can also email, fax, call or Tweet them.
  3. Click here to let us know the actions you took on Urgent Action 120.21. It’s important to report because we share the total number with the officials we are trying to persuade and the people we are trying to help.

CONTACT INFORMATION

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina
Prime Minister’s Office
Old Sangsad Bhaban
Tejgaon, Dhaka-1215
Bangladesh
Email: [email protected];
Cc: [email protected]
Ambassador M Shahidul Islam
Embassy of Bangladesh
3510 International Drive NW, Washington DC 20008
Phone: 202 244 0183
Fax: 202 244 2771 | 7830
Email: [email protected]
Contact form: http://www.bdembassyusa.org/?page=contact
Facebook: @BangladeshEmbassyUSA
Salutation: Dear Ambassador

SAMPLE LETTER

Honourable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina,

I am deeply concerned by the detention for over a year of Dipti Rani Das, a 17-year-old girl from the Hindu minority community in Bangladesh, over a Facebook post. She faces up to seven years in jail if convicted.

Last year, a photograph of a woman with a Quran between her legs was posted from Dipti Rani Das’s account. She publicly apologized for the post by going to the police station. Locals subsequently attacked her home and demanded that she leave the house. The police on October 28, 2020 arrested her and accused her under the country’s draconian Digital Security Act on vague charges of “hurting religious sentiment” and “advancing to deteriorate law and order”. She has been in detention ever since.

Restrictions to the right to freedom of expression must be clearly provided by law and be strictly necessary and proportionate to a legitimate aim. Protection of religious beliefs is not a permissible ground to restrict the right to freedom of expression, and prohibitions of displays of lack of respect for a religion are incompatible with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Bangladesh is a party.

Dipti Rani Das enrolled for her first year at college when she was arrested and, since then, her education has come to a halt. She faces further risk of being harassed and discriminated against due to the charges pressed against her. Dipti Rani Das should be in school, not in detention.

I urge your government to:

  • Immediately release Dipti Rani Das and all those detained solely for exercising their right to freedom of expression;
  • Ensure the protection of Dipti Rani Das, her family and other members of minority groups in Bangladesh from communal or politically motivated attacks;
  • Repeal the Digital Security Act or amend it in line with international human rights law, including the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights to which Bangladesh is a party.

Sincerely,

[YOUR NAME]

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES