EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: ASA 13/03/94
10 March 1994
Further information on UA 364/93 (ASA 13/14/93, 11 October 1993) - and
follow-up (ASA 13/15/93, 19 October 1993) - Death threats
BANGLADESH Taslima Nasrin (female), novelist, aged 31
Two armed police guards continue to maintain a round-the-clock vigil outside
the home of Taslima Nasrin. Amnesty International appealed to the authorities
to take steps to protect the writer after an Islamist group, the Council of
Soldiers of Islam, was reported to have called for her death for blasphemy
in her novel, Lajja (Shame). The latter is about a Hindu family in Bangladesh
attacked by Muslims after the destruction of the Babri mosque in Ayodha, India.
While Amnesty International welcomes the fact that the Bangladeshi authorities
continue to offer police protection for Taslima Nasrin, the organization is
concerned that no action has been taken to bring to justice those who issued
the death threat against her.
Since the Urgent Action Network took action on her case, Taslima Nasrin has
written to Amnesty International, saying: "Amnesty International is a very
reputed organization, highly placed in the mind of our people in the region.
When such an organization comes forward to stand by a very new writer of the
third world like me, I feel really proud and strong. One of your statements
has already appeared in our press, which helped to create strong public opinion
in my favour. Your concern has also been able to create good amount of pressure
on the government of our country. Two police guards have been posted in front
of my apartment for my protection since Amnesty International's statement
appeared in the local papers. Before that,though the honourable Chief
Metropolitan Magistrate ordered the government to give necessary protection
for me, it was not carried out. So I think your concern for me has worked
well in ensuring my safety."
Amnesty International is continuing to closely monitor Taslima Nasrin's
situation, but for the time being no further action is required by the Urgent
Action Network. Thank you to all who sent appeals on behalf of Taslima Nasrin.