Friday, November 10, 2006

Salah Choudhury's death penalty trial begins Monday (Richard Benkin)

Richard Benkin, a long-time campaigner on behalf of justice for the Bangladeshi journalist Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury, reminds us that Choudhury's trial on charges of "sedition, treason, and blasphemy" begins next Monday, November 13. Those seeking further information or the opportunity to interview Choudhury directly can contact Richard Benkin as indicated below.

--Jeff Weintraub
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 10, 2006

CONTACT: Richard L. Benkin, Ph.D.; 847-922-6426;

Journalist’s Death Penalty Trial Begins Monday

Available for Interviews

DHAKA: Bangladesh—Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury, the editor of the “Weekly Blitz” and practicing Muslim, goes on trial for his life on Monday, November 13, on counts of sedition, treason and blasphemy. Since 2003, he has been beaten, tortured and imprisoned for his work in fostering peace and opposing radical Islamists in his country.

In an election night phone call Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL) promised Choudhury that he would continue fighting for the journalist in the new Congress. Of late, Kirk has been joined by a bi-partisan group of Senators and House Members, and he intimated to Choudhury that he will propose specific action when Congress re-convenes. Kirk was instrumental in forcing the Bangladesh government to free Choudhury from prison in 2005.

Since 2003, the Bangladesh government and Islamist radicals have targeted Choudhury and his family. After seventeen months of imprisonment and “interrogation,” Choudhury was freed in April 2005 due to the efforts of Chicago-area resident, Richard Benkin and Rep. Mark Kirk. Since then, he has continued publishing his paper despite government blocks on advertisement and other forms of harassment.

Radicals have issued several death threats against him and in July, they bombed his newspaper. On October 6, 2006, a large group of Hindus, Buddhists, Christians, Bahai, and Muslims spent all night with Choudhury to protect him from radicals who threatened “dire consequences” for his actions. Shortly after that, Choudhury went into hiding after a tip alerted him to impending police and radical moves against him.

For further information or an interview with Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury contact Richard Benkin above.