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Tuesday, October 9, 2018 11:26:01 PM
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UN rights body calls Bangladesh to revise Digital Security Act

By UNB, DHAKA
10th-Oct-2018       
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UN Human Rights body has called on Bangladesh to urgently revise the Digital Security Act to ensure that it is in line with international human rights law.
The rights body wants to see that the law provides for checks and balances against arbitrary arrest, detention, and other undue restrictions of the rights of individuals to the legitimate exercise of their freedom of expression and opinion.
"We stand ready to assist the Government,"Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Ravina Shamdasani told reporters in Geneva.
The Digital Security Act was signed into law in Bangladesh on Monday, despite wide-ranging concerns that its content and scope could seriously impede the exercise of the rights to freedom of expression and opinion, as well as the rights to liberty    of the person and to due process of law.
"The Act could have a severe impact on the work of journalists, bloggers, commentators and historians but also penalizes the legitimate exercise of the right to freedom of expression by any other individual, including on social media," said the Spokesperson.
The law contains vague provisions that would impose long prison sentences of up to seven years or a fine for online speech that disturbs the law and order situation, affects religious feelings or ruins communal harmony, Shamdasani said.
Any kind of propaganda or publicity against the "Spirit of The War of Liberation", the National Anthem or National Flag is punishable by imprisonment of up to 10 years on first offence and/or a fine of 10 million Bangladesh Taka (nearly 120,000 USD). Provisions linking to digital offences under the colonial-era Official Secrets Act carry penalties of 14 years' imprisonment, and life imprisonment for repeat offenders.

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