EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: ASA 13/15/93
19 October 1993
Further information on UA 364/93 (ASA 13/14/93, 11 October 1993) - Death
BANGLADESH:Taslima Nasrin (female), novelist
It has been reported that two armed police guards have now started a
round-the-clock vigil outside the home of Taslima Nasrin. If true, Amnesty
International welcomes this move by the Bangladeshi police to protect the
novelist. She is under a death threat by an Islamist group, the Council of
Soldiers of Islam, who reportedly called for her death for blasephemy in her
writing of a novel about the situation of a Hindu family in Bangladesh.
Amnesty International continues to be concerned that the Government of
Bangladesh has taken no action to bring to justice those issuing the threat.
The Islamist group has apparently denied any intention to kill her, but it
has said it will organize campaigns to urge the government to give Taslima
Nasrin "exemplary punishment and impound her writing". Taslima Nasrin is
reported to have expressed fears that playing down the death threat may be
a tactic by the Council of Soldiers of Islam to prepare the grounds for a future
Other reports suggest that the Bangladeshi police may file a criminal case
against Taslima Nasrin for alleged espionage, but Amnesty International has
not been able to verify these. However, the organization would consider such
charges to be politically motivated if they were made solely on the basis of
Taslima Nasrin's writings. Under these circumstances, Amnesty International
would call for the Government of Bangladesh to drop the charges so that Taslima
Nasrin would not become a prisoner of conscience.
FURTHER RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/faxes/express and airmail
- welcoming the reports that police protection has been provided to Taslima
Nasrin, seeking confirmation of this;
- expressing concern that no action has been taken yet to bring to justice
those calling for her death;
- expressing concern that the Bangladeshi police are reportedly considering
charging Taslima Nasrin with alleged espionage on unsubstantiated grounds,
and urging the government to drop any politically-motivated charges so as to
ensure that Taslima Nasrin does not become a prisoner of conscience.