15 February 2012

Bangladeshi teacher pleads for Australian visa after Facebook jibe

A Bangladeshi teacher has pleaded for an Australian visa after insulting the Bangladeshi prime minister on Facebook while he was studying at Curtin University in Perth.

Australia visa

Mr Khandaker's comments on the social networking site have resulted in a sedition case against him in his home country.

Muhammad Ruhul Amin Khandaker, 29, has been accused of sedition in his home country and has now appealed to the government for an Australia visa to protect him from the retribution he fears he faces in Bangladesh.

Mr Khandaker posted about Bangladeshi filmmaker Tareq Masud, who died in a road accident in 2011, and Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina: 'Tareq Masud died as a result of government giving licence to unqualified drivers. Many die, why does not Sheikh Hasina die.'

Mr Khandaker's comments soon reached the Bangladeshi government, who ordered Mr Khandaker to return home to answer for himself.

When he did not return, the Bangladeshi High Court sentenced him to six months' imprisonment for contempt of court and began a sedition case against him.

Mr Khandaker says he fears for his life if he returns to Bangladesh:

"There have been quite a few incidents of unusual deaths for these types of issues, political issues.

"My parents and family are also very worried about my safety and security so they have asked me not to go back there at this time."

Mr Khandaker, who is currently in Australia, has pleaded to Australian immigration authorities for a protection visa, insisting that his comments have been misinterpreted by Bangladesh.

"I don't know whether I will get a protection visa or not. It really does depend on the Australian government," said Mr Khandaker.

Australia does not have an extradition treaty with Bangladesh but is allowed to consider extradition as both countries are Commonwealth nations.

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people lodge Australia visa applications with the Australian Embassy.

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