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Sedition complaint filed against Bergman, Tasneem, 2 others over Al Jazeera report

  • Published at 06:05 am February 17th, 2021
Al Jazeera

Court sets Thursday for passing an order in this connection

A sedition complaint has been filed against four people over the Qatar-based news channel Al Jazeera's recent investigative report, “All the Prime Minister's Men”.

The accused are British journalist David Bergman, Swedish-Bangladeshi journalist Tasneem Khalil, Al Jazeera Television Director General (editing council) Dr Mostefa Souag and Hungary-based entrepreneur Zulkarnain Saer Khan.

Moshiur Malek, founder and president of Bangabandhu Foundation, filed the complaint with the court of Metropolitan Magistrate Md Ashek Imam around 10am on Wednesday.

Moshiur, a lawyer by profession, in the complaint stated that the Al Jazeera report was fictitious and flawed, and had tarnished the image of the Bangladesh government and the state, which was tantamount to sedition.

The complainant pleaded with the court to issue arrest warrants against the accused through Interpol in this regard.

The court recorded the statement of the complainant and set Thursday for passing an order in this connection.

The complaint

Moshiur, in his complaint, said: “The accused have tarnished the image of the Bangladesh government and the state in collusion with one another by carrying out anti-state activities in the international arena. 

“They jointly prepared a report containing false information gleaned from their anonymous collaborators and on the night of February 1, they aired an anti-Bangladesh documentary, ‘All the Prime Minister's Men’, which was widely circulated on YouTube. It was also widely promulgated in various print and online newspapers the next day. Through the report, the accused have besmirched the image of the present government at home and abroad.”

The complainant continued: “The report claimed that some military intelligence equipment was bought from Israel for members of the Bangladesh Army, which led to widespread corruption. [It also said] the army chief involved in the purchase, General Aziz Ahmed, is corrupt and he is an associate of the prime minister, through whom the current government has carried out anti-people and corrupt activities in the country and has stayed in power forcibly.”

Without providing any specific and clear evidence to substantiate the claims, the accused had deliberately spread propaganda around the world by misusing technology, damaging the dignity of Bangladesh in the process, Moshiur stated.

“On February 2, the spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Stephane Dujarric, said the Bangladesh Army did not use any of the surveillance tools mentioned in Al Jazeera’s report, nor were they bought for use during their missions,” the complaint mentioned.

“It is to be noted that Aziz Ahmed was not the chief of army staff when all such equipment was purchased from Hungarian suppliers. The equipment mentioned in the report was not purchased after he took office,” it added.

“The accused have hatched a plot to overthrow the legitimate government by creating instability in the country through their illegal conspiratorial activities,” Moshiur claimed in his complaint. 

Being a patriotic and responsible citizen of Bangladesh, the plaintiff was angered by the Al Jazeera report and decided to file a complaint seeking a fair trial to ensure appropriate punishment for the accused, stated the complaint. 

‘Smear campaign’

The Al Jazeera report, which aired on February 1, levelled various allegations against Bangladesh Army chief General Aziz Ahmed and his brothers, which went viral on social media.

On Tuesday, General Aziz told reporters that the allegations were false, concocted and part of a conspiracy hatched by vested groups.

Earlier, the Bangladesh government rejected the desperate “smear campaign” instigated by extremists and their allies, working from London and elsewhere through the report.

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen also hinted at taking legal steps against Al Jazeera for spreading misinformation through broadcasting its “false and fabricated” report against Bangladesh.

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