Bangladesh editor sentenced to seven years in jail for attempted Israel trip

(JTA) — A newspaper editor in Bangladesh was sentenced to seven years in prison after being found guilty of trying to travel to Israel.

Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury, 48, publisher and editor of the English-language Weekly Blitz, an anti-jihadist tabloid, was found guilty on Jan. 9 of “harming the country’s interests” through pro-Israel articles and for attempting to board a flight in November 2003 to Bangkok with connections to Israel.

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He was planning to attend a conference in Tel Aviv to present a paper on the emergence of Islamic militancy in Bangladesh, according to the French news agency AFP.

Bangladesh, a Muslim-majority country, does not have diplomatic relations with Israel and bans its citizens from traveling to the Jewish state.

Choudhury’s attorney said he would appeal the verdict.

In a 2012 interview with JTA on his arrest and its aftermath, Choudhury said, “I was tortured with electric shocks. They put nails in my ear. They broke my kneecap with a hockey stick. I was interrogated for 15 days and not allowed to bathe.

“They told me, ‘confess you’re a Zionist spy. Otherwise, why do you support Judaism?’ I said that I’m a good Muslim, and a good Muslim must trust the Jews and Christians. And I’m proud of that.”