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Bangladeshi editor sentenced for contempt

Amar Desh is the first journalist to be sentenced for contempt of court by the Supreme Court of Bang

The Supreme Court of Bangladesh on Thursday sentenced Amar Desh editor Mahmudur Rahman to six months in jail for contempt; a first such sentence in the court's history.

Rahman, acting editor of the opposition-affiliated Bengali daily, was taken into police custody in June after the Awami League government shut down the paper, claiming that it was being printed illegally. He faces other criminal charges including sedition.

Oli Ullah Moman, an Amar Desh reporter, was handed a one-month jail sentence while publisher Hashmat Ali was fined 10,000 taka.
Contempt charges against Rahman were filed by two government lawyers after a 21 April report in the paper, which accused the Bangladeshi courts of pro-government bias.

Rahman has been a vocal critic of the government and was a prominent figure in the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party.

A month ago, the apex court overturned a government order banning Amar Desh's publication, allowing for temporary re-publication.
The ban on Amar Desh and Rahman's arrest have evoked criticism from rights groups and journalist unions.

The US and Britain have also issued statements expressing concern at the development.