Sunday, November 12, 2006

Recognition of Israel a Capital Offense in Bangladesh

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingBangladeshi journalist Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury (link is to WSJ editorial) is going on trial tomorrow, facing charges that could bring the death penalty. As told in an interview with NY Sun reporter, Daniel Freedman, the charges arose because Mr. Choudhury suggested that Bangladesh recognize Israel as a nation and establish dipolomatic relations with it. He is charged with "praising Jews and Christians," "spying for Israel," and being "an agent of the Mossad."

According to Freedman,
He's also accused of being critical of Islamic radicals, which is considered blasphemy. He committed these crimes by writing articles favorable toward Jews and Christians.

He did so, he says, because while he was born and raised in a Muslim country (Bangladesh) where he was taught a "religion of hatred" and a "religion of Jihad," his father "told from an early age not to listen and to learn for himself." He did and became friends with Jews, realized the lies he had been taught, and wanted to end "the culture of hatred." He says that if "Muslim countries want peace they need relations with Israel."

Mr. Choudhury says he holds no hope of getting a fair trial. The judge, he says, is a radical Islamist who has already made clear his view that Mr. Choudhury is guilty. "In open court ... he made comments that by praising Christians and Jews I have hurt the sentiment of Muslims...which is a crime," the journalist says. Other comments made by the Judge have made it clear, Mr. Choudhury tells me, that the judge's goal is a conviction and a death sentence. Mr. Choudhury describes his judge as a "one man judge and jury," and Mr. Choudhury cannot even present witnesses in his own defense.
I join Scott Johnson of Powerline in calling on citizens of all nations and faiths to join in the call for Choudhury's release or, should he be convicted, his full pardon by the President of Bangladesh.

You can read even more about the background on this human rights debacle at There you will also find who to contact and how to assert pressure for his release/pardon.