Bangladeshi judge exonerates evangelist

Biplob Marandi was sentenced in February to one year in prison for “creating chaos at a religious gathering”.

He had been selling Christian books close to a meeting of the World Muslim Congregation near Tongi Town in January. His actions angered some Muslims and he was arrested.

According to a report by Compass News Direct, the magistrate in Gazipur district court overturned Marandi’s conviction on Tuesday and ordered his release.

Attorney Lensen Swapon Gomes told the news agency: “His release proves that he was innocent and that he did not create any trouble at the Muslim gathering.”

His court’s ruling has been welcomed by the pastor’s brother, the Rev Sailence Marandi.

He said: “My brother is an innocent man, and his unconditional release proved the victory of truth.”

The Muslim World Congregation is a major gathering attended by millions of Muslims each year. They come to meditate, pray and listen to Islamic preaching.

Bangladesh is the third largest Muslim-majority country in the world, with Muslims accounting for 89 per cent of the population.