Football: Bangladesh Fifa official arrested for 'defaming' PM Hasina

A lawyer for Fifa council member Mahfuza Akhter Kiron is set to file a petition in a Bangladesh court on March 19, seeking bail for the official who has been arrested in a defamation case following her criticism of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
A lawyer for Fifa council member Mahfuza Akhter Kiron is set to file a petition in a Bangladesh court on March 19, seeking bail for the official who has been arrested in a defamation case following her criticism of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM FIFA.COM

DHAKA (REUTERS) - A lawyer for Fifa council member Mahfuza Akhter Kiron is set to file a petition in a Bangladesh court on Tuesday (March 19) seeking bail for the official who has been arrested in a defamation case following her criticism of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Mahfuza courted trouble after her remarks in a news conference last month in which she said Ms Hasina was neglecting football in the cricket-obsessed country.

A sport organiser filed a defamation case against the 52-year-old, who was arrested on Saturday.

"Hopefully, we'll file a bail petition tomorrow," her lawyer, Liakat Hossain, told Reuters on Monday.

The lawyer said Mahfuza was denied bail on Saturday but he argued that an "established woman" who represented the country abroad should be granted bail.

"We will file a bail petition again."

Ms Hasina's administration has recently been accused of cracking down on free speech and adopting an increasingly authoritarian style.

Her government, which won a third straight term in a Dec 30 election marred by violence and allegations of widespread rigging, denies freedom of speech is under attack in the country of 165 million people.

Abul Hasan Chowdhury Prince, who filed the case against Mahfuza, said her comments against Ms Hasina were derogatory.

"I lodged the case as she made derogatory remarks against our sports-loving prime minister," he told Reuters.