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Apr-30-2012 23:15printcomments

Sedition Charges Against Journalist in Bangladesh?

Pro-government activists campaign to file very serious charges against William Gomes over Facebook allegations...

Salem-News.com Human Rights Ambassador William Gomes
Salem-News.com Human Rights Ambassador William Gomes

(SALEM) - Salem-News is contacting elected officials with the U.S. government, seeking their intervention to protect our Human Rights Ambassador and featured writer, William Gomes of Bangladesh.

Salem-News is asking Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, who is due to visit Bangladesh on the 5th of May 2012, to please take time to discuss the security of William Gomes. His role as human rights ambassador for a media organization is a brave and unique approach to resolving human rights issues worldwide that are otherwise so often simply ignored.

It was Mrs. Clinton who suggested years ago that it takes a village to raise a child; she surely heads the list of those who appreciate the media's involvement in giving a voice to those who don't otherwise have one.

We would be grateful if Sec. of State Clinton would take a position on this freedom of speech issue, as Mr. Gomes writes articles that expose injustice in the most shadowy corners of the world.

He rallies for people all over the globe; on all continents. His articles and letters of appeal can be viewed at this link.

The fact that he has also criticised his own country, should not place his life in jeopardy with his own government, however this possible charge could lead to that.

E activists with the ruling political party Bangladesh Awami League (BAL), are campaigning against our Human Rights Ambassador, and actually urging the government to file sedition charge against William Gomes in the largest political Facebook group of Bangladesh: Blue Band call – the print screen is attached below.

    In law, sedition is overt conduct, such as speech and organization, that is deemed by the legal authority to tend toward insurrection against the established order. In Bangladesh, a journalist charged with this crime faces the death penalty. - Wikipedia

      (According to Section 124 [A] of the Bangladesh Penal Court [Sedition] bears capital punishment.)

Attackers Oppose Journalist's Human Rights Mission

Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK; Chinese: 香港電台) is a public broadcasting organisation in Hong Kong that is operated as an independent department in the government under the Broadcasting Authority.

Interview with William Gomes about human rights, from 2010, with Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK)

The pro government groups have been abusive, attacking William Gomes' rights to freedom of religion and freedom of expression. In fact he has been a target for a long time over his human rights activism and journalist works.

Salem-News urges U.S. Senators and Members of Congress, to warn the Bangladesh government to stop harassing our human rights ambassador. Salem-News is urging all of our associated groups and international allies to stand by William's side and pass this article on to U.S. officials to take the issues into account.

This is a tragic attempt to silence a Journalist/Activist exclusively willing to stand behind only fairness and truth and against government abuse of human rights- in all places. The attack against Mr. Gomes is an attack against human goodwill itself.

If Bangladesh succeeded in silencing William Gomes, it would represent a tremendous setback to all efforts to build human rights in this part of the world, not to mention being a bleeding gash in the very notion of freedom of press.

Those in Bangladesh considering this action need to understand that Mr. Gomes is a valued member of our team at Salem-News.com; an extremely active world news organization nearly a decade old with more than 100 writers in 22 countries.


Gomes articles Asia - Sampling of William's articles in Asia

We are associated with a long list of other media and activist groups like OCCUPY MARINES, International Rescue Group (IRG) and VETERANS TODAY Our writers are no strangers to attack; we strongly advocate for them and will back them in all similar circumstances.

While we are no strangers to malicious political attacks, this attempt to have William Gomes charged with Sedition, which carries the death penalty, is a shameful mark against Bangladesh; a nation known for a long list of human rights violations. William Gomes has taken the country to task over these infringements of international law numerous times, and for this simple communication of information, he faces the death penalty?

Ridiculous. We will not allow this to take place, we will raise so many flags that Bangladeshi officials will wish they never considered such foolish and irresponsible prosecution.

As a Bangladeshi journalist, Mr. Gomes is protected from any such treatment (particularly because he never committed the act of 'Sedition' in the first place, the matter actually stemming from misinformation published on the Facebook page) by international law.

William Gomes has every right to free speech; he is duly appointed as a Bangladesh correspondent of the Sri Lanka Guardian as well as Salem-News.com. He was accredited by the press information department of Bangladesh. His background includes working for the international human rights organization, Asian Human Rights Commission.

Click to see certificate full size

Click to see certificate full size

Click to see certificate full size

Having worked with Salem-News for several months, Wiilliam was recently named our Human Rights Ambassador as he uniquely possesses the ability to write about tragedy, and help the affected parties through letters to world officials, exposing the injustice the people are facing; often leading to political response. He doesn't just report, he actually tries to help the people he writes about. It is a hard and all too often thankless job, and one of the most important roles in existence.

William Gomes was also named Assistant Editor for Salem-News.com.

William has been associated with the efforts of local, regional and international human rights groups campaigning for the criminalization of torture. He has spent years actively campaigning for the abolishment of the death penalty; a subject he has written about frequently.

William became an active campaigner for demanding the disbandment of an elite force in Bangladesh called the Rapid Action Battalion and military intelligence Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI) for the latter’s involvement in torture, extra judicial killings, enforced disappearances of persons and other forms of gross violations that have continued unabated.

He distributed posters, stickers and leaflets containing the demands of prosecution of the perpetrators among the families of the victims of extrajudicial killings; professionals, diplomats and ordinary citizens of the country. In his blogs, personal website and other virtual domains such as Facebook and Twitter he campaigned for banning the RAB with the demands of justice for the victims.

William has been cultivating his knowledge of human rights consistently, attended a number of different training courses.

In 2009, he participated in a training organized by Asian Legal Resource Centre on “Food Security, Corruption and Democracy Focusing on Human Rights and Rule of Law in Bangladesh”.

In 2010, he participated in a training organized by Asian Human Rights Commission in Hong Kong on “Training programme on interviewing of victims of human rights abuses”.

Also in 2010, he participated in a course, “Training on Human rights and rule of law” in Bangladesh that was organized by Asian legal Resource Center.

The certificates he received for attending these events are shown on the right, click on the smaller images to see the full size acknowledgements. It is sad that false information on Facebook has placed William Gomes in an awkward and dangerous position. His goals are for the betterment of all people, particularly those who are voiceless, living among occupation, government terrorism; any manner of terrible situations that lead to torture and murder and a range of human rights violations.

Salem-News.com's human rights ambassador confirmed his mission saying that, “I am for all peaceful efforts and against violence, I am with the all the peaceful people where ever they are from , but always I am against all the suppressive and fascist government as is the case with the Bangladesh government.“

If anything were to happen to Salem-News Human Rights Ambassador William Gomes or his family, Salem-News will mobilize every resource along with our allied progressive forces and devote years if necessary, to expose the officials with the fascist forces of Bangladesh and its allies and see them taken to world court where they can pay for their misdeeds with their own lives. It is much simpler for a government to simply show restraint and act human, stay human; Restiamo Umani

Similar report by AFP Jan 8, 2012: Bangladeshi faces sedition charge over Facebook post

William Gomes' Facebook page: www.facebook.com/humanrightsambassadorwilliamgomes

(Facebook image with this story)

______________________________

Tim King in 2008, covering the Iraq War

Tim King: Salem-News.com Editor and Writer

Tim King has more than twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. Tim is Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor. His background includes covering the war in Afghanistan in 2006 and 2007, and reporting from the Iraq war in 2008. Tim is a former U.S. Marine.

Tim holds awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing from The Associated Press the National Coalition of Motorcyclists, the Oregon Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs, Electronic Media Association and The Red Cross In a personal capacity, Tim has written 2,026 articles as of March 2012 for Salem-News.com since the new format designed by Matt Lintz was launched in December, 2005.

Serving readers with news from all over the globe, Tim's life is literally encircled by the endless news flow published by Salem-News.com, where more than 100 writers contribute stories from 20+ countries and regions.

Tim specializes in writing about political and military developments worldwide with an emphasis on Palestine and Sri Lanka, Iraq and Afghanistan, and the U.S. Marines. You can write to Tim at this address: tim@salem-news.com. Visit Tim's Facebook page (facebook.com/TimKing.Reporter)

View articles written by Tim King




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Anwar Baluch May 1, 2012 2:54 am (Pacific time)

Stand up to it Williams, fight back with patience and diligence. We must not let the miscreant to become successful in his/her ulterior motives.
Let us all speak more cogently in support of Williams


Peter Goff May 1, 2012 9:44 am (Pacific time)

Mr. Gomes needs to be supported worldwide, his work is gallant and necessary, I hope Hillary Clinton advocates for this journalist during her upcoming trip, it is the right thing to do.

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