Unwitting Irony: NYT Scores Bangladesh For ”Crushing A Democracy” By ... Prosecuting Regime’s Political Opponents!
09/02/2023
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From the New York Times news section:

Quietly Crushing a Democracy: Millions on Trial in Bangladesh

The most active rivals to the country’s ruling party face dozens, even hundreds, of court cases each, paralyzing the opposition as a crucial election approaches.

By Mujib Mashal Photographs by Atul Loke

This story was reported over two trips to Bangladesh, where the government has increasingly limited access to foreign journalists.

Sept. 2, 2023

Nearly every day, thousands of leaders, members and supporters of opposition parties stand before a judge. Charges are usually vague, and evidence is shoddy, at best. But just months before a pivotal election pitting them against the ruling Awami League, the immobilizing effect is clear.

About half of the five million members of the main opposition party, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, are embroiled in politically motivated court cases, the group estimates. The most active leaders and organizers face dozens, even hundreds, of cases. Lives that would be defined by raucous rallies or late-night strategizing are instead dominated by lawyers’ chambers, courtroom cages and, in Dhaka, the torturously snail-paced traffic between the two.

One recent morning, a party leader, Saiful Alam Nirob, was ushered into Dhaka’s 10-story magistrate court in handcuffs. Mr. Nirob faces between 317 and 394 cases — he and his lawyers are unsure exactly how many. Outside the court, a dozen supporters—facing an additional 400 cases among them—waited in an alley whose bustle was cleared only by intermittent monsoon downpours and the frequent blowing of a police whistle to open the way for another political prisoner. …

“I can’t do a job anymore,” said one of the supporters, Abdul Satar, who is dealing with 60 cases and spends three or four days a week in court. “It’s court case to court case.” …

But under the surface, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has waged a campaign of political consolidation whose goal, opposition leaders, analysts and activists say, is to turn the South Asian republic into a one-party state.

Over her 14 years in office, she has captured Bangladesh’s institutions, including the police, the military and, increasingly, the courts, by filling them with loyalists and making clear the consequences for not falling in line. …

When asked during an interview in her Dhaka office about using the judiciary to harass the opposition, Ms. Hasina sent an aide out of the room to retrieve a photo album. It was a catalog of horrors: graphic pictures of maimed bodies after arsons, bombings and other attacks.

“It is not political, it is not political,” the prime minister said of the court cases, pointing to the visuals as examples of the “brutality” of the B.N.P. [opposition party]. “It is because of their crime.”

The Prime Minister isn’t hamstringing the opposition, she’s Protecting Our Democracy.

[Comment at Unz.com]

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