Dhaka: Bangladeshi authorities have arrested a senior member of football’s world governing body FIFA for allegedly defaming the country’s prime minister.
Mahfuza Akhter Kiron, a FIFA Council member, was detained after she had said that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was neglecting football, the BBC reported on Sunday.
A defamation claim was then filed by a local sport official, alleging that the comments embarrassed the entire nation.
On Saturday, Kiron was denied bail and sent to jail, her lawyer said.
“We sought bail for her after she was taken to the court. But our prayer was rejected,” her lawyer Liakat Hossain said.
The government of Sheikh Hasina has been accused by human rights groups of using tough media laws to stifle dissent in the country.
Last August, renowned Bangladeshi photographer and activist Shahidul Alam was jailed for “spreading false information” during mass demonstrations.
During a recent TV talk show, Kiron said Hasina was neglecting football in the cricket-mad Bangladesh.
This prompted local sport official Abul Hasan Chowdhury Prince to file a defamation claim.
“Mahfuza told the TV show the PM maintains double standard for football and cricket. She rewards cricket for personal gain but ignores football,” Hasan’s lawyer was quoted as saying by a media outlet.
The defamation claim alleges that such comments about the sports-loving prime minister embarrasses the entire nation.
Sheikh Hasina has so far made no public comment on the issue.