02 Apr 2021: Bangladesh teen arrested for mocking Modi, Sheikh Hasina in video
A teenager in Bangladesh was held for making a music video mocking Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina.
Reportedly, Rabiul Islam (19) was arrested on Wednesday based on a complaint filed by a pro-government youth leader under the country's stringent Digital Security Act.
The law is viewed as Bangladesh's attempt to clamp down on free speech.
Here are more details.
Details: Islam likely to face up to 14-year jail term
Local police chief Abdullah al-Mamun told Agence France-Presse, "He made an offensive music video using photos of Bangladeshi and Indian Prime Ministers and posted it on his Facebook timeline."
Islam faced court on Thursday and was remanded in custody.
He may face up to 14 years in prison and is likely to be charged with defaming and tarnishing the image of the PM.
Recent news: PM Modi had recently visited Bangladesh
Islam's arrest came days after PM Modi visited Bangladesh to mark the 50th anniversary of its independence.
Radical Islamist groups had organized protests against Modi's visit.
Over a dozen people were killed in the violence and Hindu temples in the country were also attacked.
Islamist groups in Bangladesh say that Modi is biased against the minority Muslim community in India.
Backlash: Country's harsh internet law face widespread criticism
The Digital Security Act of 2018 replaced the contentious Information and Communication Technology Act of 2006.
The "draconian" ICT Act granted law enforcement agencies the right to arrest any person without a warrant for up to 14 years.
After widespread criticism, the law was replaced with the DSA, however, many of the ICT Act's provisions were introduced in different forms in the new law.
Law: What is Digital Security Act, 2018?
Section 21 of the DSA prescribes life imprisonment, along with a hefty fine, for engaging in "propaganda" or a "campaign" against the "spirit of the liberation war" and nationalist symbols.
Section 25 provides special protection to the state and may be used to prohibit/punish legitimate political expression.
The DSA also prohibits investigative journalism, according to Bangladesh's Editors' Council, an association of newspaper editors.
Related news: Recently, a journalist was arrested for 'defaming Hasina'
On Monday, a broadcast journalist, Naimur Rahman, was detained for allegedly defaming Hasina while covering a local election.
In March, widespread protests marred the country over the death of writer Mushtaq Ahmed in detention. He was arrested under the DSA for publishing an article on the way Hasina handled the coronavirus pandemic.