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Cartoonist released after six months in prison

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders welcomes the release on 20 March 2008 of Arifur Rahman, a cartoonist who was arrested in September 2007 because of a cartoon that contained a play on the name of the Prophet Mohammed. He was freed because the plaintiff repeatedly failed to come to court.

"It is unacceptable that Rahman was not freed earlier, as the high court of justice ruled on 4 February that his detention was illegal and ordered his immediate release," the press freedom organisation said. "The authorities let themselves be pressured by extremist groups."

Rahman was arrested on 18 September 2007 for allegedly "offending the public's religious sentiments" in a cartoon published in "Aalpin", the daily newspaper "Prothom Alo"'s weekly satirical supplement. Under pressure from religious extremists in Dhaka, "Prothom Alo" issued an apology and dismissed Rahman. The supplement was also banned.

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