Bangladesh forms tribunal to try cyber criminals

DHAKA (AFP) - Bangladesh has formed a fast-track court to try cyber criminals after a spike in crimes involving mobile phones and social networking sites such as Facebook, an official said on Thursday.

The move comes four months after major communal violence in which an alleged Facebook posting of a photo defaming the Koran by a Buddhist sent tens of thousands of Muslims on the rampage against the minority community.

Officials said the Cyber Tribunal, the first of its kind in the country, will be empowered to conclude trials within six months.

"This tribunal was needed for the sake of quick and efficient trial of cyber crime cases as they disturb social stability," said Rahman Khan, an assistant director of the government's telecommunications regulatory commission (BTRC).

"We are receiving a growing number of complaints about abuse and harassment using fake Facebook IDs, doctoring photos, filming porno footage with mobile phone and posting them on websites and hacking of websites," Mr Khan told AFP.

The BTRC set up a taskforce to deal with the cyber crimes last year and it was "overwhelmed with thousands of complaints", he said.

Last year police arrested at least half a dozen people after they allegedly made derogatory comments and posted doctored photos of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on their Facebook accounts.

Bangladesh, a country of 153 million people, has nearly seven million broadband Internet users and nearly 100 million mobile phone users.

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