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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 December 2007, 11:33 GMT
Dhaka teachers on violence charge
Policeman chases student in Dhaka during August 2007 protests
Anti-government rioting took place on campuses across the country
Four university professors from Bangladesh's largest university in Dhaka have appeared in court on charges of inciting violence in August.

They are alleged to have urged students to protest against the imposition of emergency rule by the country's military-backed caretaker government.

On Monday, four teachers from Rajshahi University convicted for similar offences were officially pardoned.

Bangladesh has been under emergency rule since January.

The case against the four Dhaka professors and 15 students has been adjourned until 17 December.

Abdullah Al Mamun was one of the Rajshahi professors freed
Large crowds greeted the release of the Rajshahi teachers

Correspondents say that they could well be sentenced and pardoned in the same way the authorities dealt with their counterparts from in the north-western town of Rajshahi.

They were sentenced to two years each. All four denied the charges.

On Monday, a spokesman for President Iajuddin Ahmed said that he had approved clemency for the four after "mercy petitions were filed by their respective wives".

The clemency decision follows a series of silent protests by teachers and students wearing black badges at major universities across the country.

Demonstrations

Rallies and protests have been banned by the interim government which is eager to prevent a repeat of political violence in January and student protests in August.

Last week the head of Dhaka university appealed for the release of the four academics who have been detained since August. They too deny all charges against them.

Dhaka university Vice Chancellor SMA Faiz met the head of the government, Fakhruddin Ahmed, to plead his case.

The 20-22 August demonstrations began at Dhaka university after students were allegedly beaten up by army personnel. Unrest rapidly spread to other towns in the country.

That led to the emergency government imposing a seven-day curfew.

The protests left at least one person dead and hundreds injured.



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