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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 108

House Resolution 64 Passes Overwhelmingly: Demand to Drop Charges against Bangladeshi Journalist Now Official US Policy

By Dr. Richard L. Benkin

Washington, 15 March, (Asiantribune.com): In a rare show of bi-partisanship, the US Congress on Tuesday 13 March, passed House Resolution 64. HR 64 makes it the “sense of the US Congress” that charges against crusading Muslim journalist, Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury be dropped and all harassment against him ended.

Choudhury is the Bangladeshi Muslim jailed and tortured after exposing the rise of radical Islam in Bangladesh, urging relations with Israel, and advocating interfaith dialogue based on religious freedom. Though it earlier released him from prison, the Bangladeshi government has pursued his prosecution on charges of “sedition, treason, and blasphemy,” which carry a possible death sentence.

Introduced by Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL) and co-sponsored by Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY), HR 64 passed the powerful House Committee on Foreign Relations less than a month ago, picking up the official endorsement of the State Department as it did.

In addition to Kirk and Lowey, Reps. Gary Ackerman (D-NY), John Boozman (R-AR), and Steve Chabot (R-OH) spoke on behalf of the measure. Among other things, they referred to Bangladesh’s use of “harsh interrogation techniques against Choudhury and the “politically motivated” nature of the charges. They also tied action on the Choudhury case to the greater war against extremism by the United States and by Muslim-majority countries like Bangladesh.

Choudhury watched the floor debate live from his home in Dhaka on www.cspan.org. The events both touched and thrilled him and encouraged him that justice will prevail in his case as well as those of others like him. He also said that it will “help Muslims who oppose extremism to stand up against it without fleeing to the West, since they know they will have protectors.”

- Asian Tribune -

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