DHAKA (AFP) — Four Bangladeshi academics were sentenced to two years in jail each Tuesday for fuelling student unrest in August that prompted the country's emergency government to impose a curfew, police said.
The professors from Rajshahi University in the west of the country were found guilty of breaking emergency laws banning protests and all gatherings, police inspector Mahbub Siddiqui said.
"They joined protests and marches defying the ban during the nationwide student unrest in August," he said.
The protests left one dead and hundreds injured and shook the military-backed government, which has been in power since a political crisis in January.
The professors were jailed as dozens of students from Dhaka University held hands and covered their mouths with black badges to protest the detention of the teachers as well as some two dozen students, police and witnesses said.
The students stood silently on the university campus and dispersed after about half an hour, local police chief Shahidul Islam said.
The August 20-22 demonstrations began at Dhaka University after students were allegedly roughed up by army personnel.
The government defused the unrest by imposing a week-long curfew in major cities and blamed the country's sidelined political parties.
Four leading academics from Dhaka University including two deans have also been detained as part of the crackdown after the unrest.
The government, which is led by former central bank governor Fakhruddin Ahmed, came to power on January 12 and has promised to clean up Bangladesh's corrupt politics before holding fresh elections in late 2008.
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