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Bangladesh Christian poet arrested over writing on priests

AFP  |  Dhaka 

Police in southern arrested a prominent Tuesday after he was accused of hurting the religious feelings of the country's minority Christian community, police said.

Henry Sawpon, a Christian himself, was detained in Barisal, south of the capital Dhaka, after a filed a case against him for a series of defamatory writings about the clergy.

"He was arrested under the country's for hurting religious sentiments of the Christian community," told AFP.

Sawpon, whose poems and rhymes are regularly published in leading newspapers and magazines, was sent to jail after a court rejected his bail application.

Police said Sawpon had posted slanderous remarks against Barisal's Catholic fathers on his profile since 2016. He also accused the city's of embezzling funds.

Days before his arrest, Sawpon told that two unidentified men entered his home after midnight and threatened to kill him if he did not stop writing against his community.

The faces a maximum 14 years in jail if found guilty under the which was passed last year and has been slammed as "draconian" by in and abroad.

expressed concern that the law would be used to curb freedom of expression and a crackdown on dissent.

Last August top was arrested during massive student protests in the capital for making "false" and "provocative" statements on Al Jazeera and Live.

He is being investigated for allegedly violating Bangladesh's already stringent enacted in 2006.

Christians make up less than one percent of Bangladesh's 165 million people, but have lived for centuries mostly in harmony with the local Muslim majority.

They have played a prominent role in the country's history and even today, schools and hospitals run by Catholic missionaries provide a lifeline for poor communities.

Barisal's Christian community is one of the oldest in the Muslim majority nation.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, May 14 2019. 23:31 IST