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Shafiqur Rahman, leader of largest Islamist party, detained in Bangladesh

Shafiqur Rahman, leader of largest Islamist party, detained in Bangladesh

Dhaka: Days after the largest Islamist party in Bangladesh indicated it would join the major opposition in protests to unseat Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Bangladeshi police announced on Tuesday that they had detained the party's leader.

Shafiqur Rahman, the head of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, was detained in Dhaka by counterterrorism officers, according to Metropolitan Police spokesman Faruq Ahmed.

The third-largest political party in the nation, Jamaat, whose representatives are prohibited from running in elections since 2012, denounced the 64-year-arrest old's and claimed it was done to "scuttle the opposition's anti-government movement."

"This is just another episode of the unjust oppression continuing against the party for the last 15 years," Matiur Rahman Akand, Jamaat's publicity secretary, told AFP.

Between 2001 and 2006, a coalition led by the right-of-centre main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and Jamaat was in power in the nation.

But after Hasina took office in 2009, the whole Jamaat leadership was detained and put on trial for war crimes committed during the nation's 1971 war of independence with Pakistan.

A war crimes court found five of its top leaders guilty, and between 2013 and 2016, they were all executed.

The party claimed that the trials were political vendettas and that they were politically motivated against its leaders.

After staging violent protests against the executions, hundreds of party members were shot dead and tens of thousands were taken into custody, AFP reported.

The Jamaat chief was detained days after two BNP leaders were detained on suspicion of inciting violence ahead of a large anti-government rally on Saturday.

The BNP has demanded that Hasina resign and allow a caretaker administration to conduct a free and fair election.

A legitimate vote under Hasina, according to the opposition, is impossible because she is suspected of rigging the previous two general elections in 2014 and 2018.

Jamaat and a number of centrist and left-leaning parties have backed the BNP's demands. They also declared that they will protest alongside the BNP.

Rafat Sadik Saifullah, Rahman's son, was also detained by police last month on suspicions of extremism and placed in detention as a result of the strict anti-terrorism laws in the nation.

Power outages and fuel price increases have caused a continuous economic crisis that has triggered protests around the nation in recent months.

Numerous opposition activists have been detained in large numbers.

The political environment in Bangladesh, one of Asia's fastest-growing economies, has drawn the attention of Western nations and the United Nations.

Concerns about Bangladesh's political environment, one of Asia's fastest-growing economies, have been voiced by Western nations and the United Nations.

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TAGS:BangladesharrestsPM Sheikh HasinaShafiqur Rahman
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