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Sunday, 13 October, 2002, 12:07 GMT 13:07 UK
Bangladesh court sentences Taslima
Taslima Nasreen
Nasreen's comments have angered traditionalists

The Bangladeshi feminist writer, Taslima Nasreen, has been given a one-year prison sentence on a charge of writing derogatory comments about Islam in several of her books.

This is the first sentence against the writer who was forced to flee the country in 1994 after receiving death threats from Muslim extremists.

Taslima Nasreen's criticism of traditional Islamic values and customs angered many hard line Islamic groups in Bangladesh.

Former PM Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina
Former PM Sheikh Hasina: Called Nasreen "vulgar"
In 1994, one of the groups put a price on her head after she reportedly called for revising Koran to give more freedom to Muslim women.

Ms Nasreen has denied she made any such comment.

Hard line

Taslima Nasreen was tried in her absence by a magistrate court in Gopalganj, nearly 100 kilometres (60 miles) from the capital Dhaka.

The case was filed by a hard line Islamic leader, Mohammad Dabiruddin, who heads a local religious school.

Mr Dabiruddin accused Taslima Nasreen of writing offensive comments about Islam - and magistrate Shah Alam found her guilty of hurting the sentiments of the Muslims.

In 1994 Prime Minister Khaleda Zia's government charged Taslima Nasreen of blasphemy for some of her controversial comments about Islam.

Exile

She fled after being granted bail in the case and has been living in exile - mostly in France and Sweden - ever since.

In 1998 Ms Nasreen returned to Bangladesh to visit her ailing mother, but left the country after her mother's death.

The Bangladeshi Government has already banned three of her books - "Shame", "My Childhood", and "Wild Wind".

The government said the books might hurt the people's religious sentiments.

Senior lawyers say that in order to appeal against the verdict, Taslima Nasreen must first surrender before the trial court.

See also:

27 Aug 02 | South Asia
13 Aug 99 | South Asia
26 Jan 99 | South Asia
26 Sep 98 | South Asia
05 Jul 02 | South Asia
16 Aug 02 | Country profiles
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