What is Bangladesh's controversial digital security law?
- Mushtaq Ahmed, 53, collapsed and died on Thursday 10 months after being arrested under Bangladesh's Digital Security Act (DSA) for comments on Facebook criticising the government's response to coronavirus.
Bangladesh saw another day of protests on Sunday following the death of a prominent writer and government critic in jail, with police firing tear gas and rubber bullets.
Mushtaq Ahmed, 53, collapsed and died on Thursday 10 months after being arrested under Bangladesh's Digital Security Act (DSA) for comments on Facebook criticising the government's response to coronavirus.
AFP looks at the legislation, which has alarmed foreign governments and which rights groups say is being used to silence dissent in the country of 168 million people under Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
What is the law?
Bangladesh's parliament passed the DSA in late 2018 after several major instances of deadly sectarian violence sparked by posts on social media, but the wording is vague and its provisions broad.
It criminalises engaging in "propaganda" against the "spirit" of the 1971 Bangladeshi war of independence, the national anthem, the flag and the nation's founder Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, father of the current prime minister.
Those falling foul of the law face hefty fines and lengthy jail sentences, even life imprisonment for certain repeat offences. Arrests can be made without a warrant.
"We've built a digital Bangladesh, and now it is our duty to provide the people with digital security," Hasina said on Saturday.
How widely is it used?
Citing data from Bangladesh's Cyber Crime Tribunal, Amnesty International says nearly 2,000 cases have been filed under the DSA, with journalists particular targets.
Last year at least 10 editors of national and regional dailies and online news platforms faced legal charges under the DSA following critical reporting on leaders of the ruling Awami League party, according to Amnesty.
Others falling foul include people like Ahmed, a successful crocodile farmer who became a vociferous critic of the government. He was arrested in May along with several others including rights campaigner Didar Bhuiyan and Ahmed Kabir Kishore, a cartoonist.
According to rights group Article 19, which monitors press freedom in many countries, "freedom of speech, freedom of expression and freedom of the media are being severely violated under the Digital Security Act".
Rights groups say arrests have increased since the coronavirus pandemic.
Members of Bangladesh's minority Hindu community have also been detained and jailed under the law for hurting the religious sentiments of majority Muslims.
In September, for example, a young Hindu man was jailed for seven years under the DSA for posting comments on Facebook found to have blasphemed the Prophet Mohammed.
What else has Hasina done?
Hasina, 73, has ruled the country with a firm hand since coming to power in 2009 in a landslide election victory.
She has used her power to settle some old scores, with several army officers accused of killing her father and much of her family in 1975 executed.
At least five Islamist leaders and a senior opposition leader have also been executed for war crimes. Rights groups raised questions about the fairness of the trial.
Hasina's main political opposition has been hobbled, with thousands of its activists behind bars on what they say are trumped-up charges.
Her ailing arch-rival Khaleda Zia was jailed for corruption charges that the opposition says are politically motivated. Last March she was let out for medical treatment.
Hasina was easily re-elected in 2014 and 2018, and both votes were clouded by allegations of irregularities.
Earlier this year an Al Jazeera documentary alleged close links between Hasina's inner circle, the military and organised crime. The government denied the claims and a court ordered the programme removed from the internet.
A scorching heat wave, the worst in six decades, sweeping China has dried up rivers and reservoirs, threatened crop yields and forced industries to shut down and ration electricity. One of the regions hit badly by the heat wave is China's southwestern Sichuan province, which has shut down factories for six days to ease a crippling power shortage.
Liz Truss led Rishi Sunak by 32 points in the latest survey of UK Tory members by the ConservativeHome website, suggesting she remains on track to win the race to succeed Boris Johnson as prime minister. Some 60% of the 961 Tory members polled by the influential website said they favored Truss to become the Conservative Party's new leader, while just 28% backed Sunak, ConservativeHome said on Wednesday.
Having made significant investments in the conflict-prone Pakistan-Afghanistan region as part of its hugely ambitious Belt and Road Initiative, China is planning to protect its interests in the two countries by stationing its own forces in specially created outposts, according to top diplomatic sources. Pakistan, where according to some estimates the Chinese investments have risen above USD 60 billion, is largely dependent on China not only for financial but also military and diplomatic support.
Cheney will now be forced from Congress at the end of her third and final term in January. Far, US President Donald Trump's has helped install loyalists who parrot his conspiracy theories in general election matchups from Pennsylvania to Arizona. With Cheney's loss, Republicans who voted to impeach Trump are going extinct. Democrats across America, major donors among them, took notice. Trump earned nearly 70% of the vote in 2016 and 2020.
Former US president Donald Trump on Wednesday said that the department of justice and the FBI returned his passports seized during the raid at his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida last week. Trump said on Tuesday in a statement in a Truth Social post. On Monday, he alleged that the federal law enforcement agency “stole” three passports, one of which he said was expired.