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Dhaka, May 15: Poet Henry Sawpon has been arrested and sent to jail. He is facing charges of hurting the religious feelings of the minority Christian community. He himself being a Christian was detained in Barisal, south of the capital Dhaka, after a priest filed a case against him for a series of defamatory writings about the clergy.
Barisal Metropolitan Police commissioner Shahabuddin Khan said "He was arrested under the country's digital security law for hurting religious sentiments of the Christian community." His poems and rhymes are published in most newspapers and magazines. His bail application was rejected by court.
Sawpon had posted remarks against Barisal's Catholic fathers on his Facebook profile since 2016. He also accused the city's Bishop of embezzling funds. The poet faces a maximum 14 years in jail if found guilty under the controversial digital security law which was passed last year and has been slammed as "draconian" by media rights groups in Bangladesh and abroad.
Christians being one percent of population have lived for centuries mostly in harmony with the local Muslim majority. Catholic missionaries run many schools and hospitals and are lifeline for poor communities.