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Bangladesh Refuses Author’s Bail

November 3, 1998

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) _ A Bangladesh court on Tuesday ordered feminist writer Taslima Nasrin to surrender by Jan. 5 to face charges of blaspheming Islam.

Nasrin, the subject of death threats from Islamic extremists, has been in hiding here since returning in September from four years of self-imposed exile in Europe and America. She returned to care for her mother, who is dying of colon cancer.

``I’m greatly disappointed by the court’s ruling. I want freedom to take care of my ailing mother,″ the 36-year-old novelist, poet and essayist told The Associated Press in a telephone interview from her hideout.

Police said they were unable to locate her.

Nasrin became the target of Islamic extremists after a newspaper quoted her as saying that the Koran, the Islamic holy book, should be rewritten. She denied making the comment, but admitted that she supports changes in Islamic laws to give more rights to women in her male-dominated society.

Extremists have offered $5,000 to anyone who kills her.

Since she returned, thousands of Muslim conservatives have demonstrated in the Bangladeshi capital, Dkaha, demanding Nasrin’s death.

Dhaka magistrate Ali Ahmed ordered Nasrin’s arrest in September in a civil suit that accused her of offending the religious sentiments of Muslims in her book Nirbachito Column (Selected Columns), a compilation of her newspaper writings. The case was in addition to another blasphemy case filed in 1994.

She fled to Stockholm, Sweden, after the 1994 charge was filed. From there, she traveled to many European and American cities to speak to writers and women’s rights activists.

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