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Wednesday, 20 November, 2002, 16:34 GMT
Dhaka politician freed from jail
Soldiers arrest crime suspect in Dhaka
The army rounded up civilians and some politicians
A prominent opposition politician in Bangladesh, Saber Hossain Chowdhury, has been released from jail on the orders of the High Court.


I will face all the charges against me in the court. I'm sure the court will uphold the truth

Saber Hossain Chowdhury

Mr Chowdhury is the political secretary to the head of the Awami League, and former prime minister, Sheikh Hasina.

He was detained last month by the army, which is leading an operation across the country to combat rising crime.

Police said at the time that Mr Chowdhury would face a number of charges.

The authorities say the cases against him have not been withdrawn, and that he will have to face prosecution.

'Politically-motivated'

After his release on bail, Mr Chowdhury told the BBC that he had not faced any physical torture while in custody, but he said he was tortured mentally during a 14-hour interrogation by police.

Unrest
Crime has been on the rise
He said the charges against him were politically motivated.

"I will face all the charges against me in the court. I'm sure the court will uphold the truth," he said.

One of the country's leading businessmen, Mr Chowdhury was the president of Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) and a junior government minister before the Awami League lost last year's general elections.

Arrests

Mr Chowdhury is the most high profile of more than 5,000 people who have been arrested by troops since they were asked by the government to help restore law and order a month ago.

The human rights group, Amnesty International, has expressed serious concerns about Mr Chowdhury's case, along with other members of the opposition.

They are also worried about the number of people who have died in military custody since the army deployment, known as Operation Clean Heart, began.

The government denies the army is being used against its political opponents.

It says that troops have significantly lowered violent crime and made Bangladesh a safer place.

It says it has no plans to return them to barracks until the anti-crime drive brings results.

See also:

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