A Bangladeshi court on Monday turned down a petition to legalise marriage between its citizens and refugees from Myanmar’s persecuted Rohingya minority.
Babul Hossain, a construction worker from the district of Manikganj, had filed the petition with the Bangladesh High Court in December, challenging a government ban on marrying Rohingyas for Bangladeshi citizens, which has been in effect since 2014, Efe news reported.
“The court dismissed the petition and fined the petitioner 100,000 taka ($1,200) for wasting its time,” said deputy Attorney General Motahar Hossain.
Hossain’s son got married to a Rohingya in September 2017 at the refugee camp in Kutupalong and since then the couple has been on the run, fearing that they may be arrested.
“The court said this man has committed a crime by bringing the girl outside the camp as she is not a Bangladeshi citizen. He also committed a crime by attempting to marry her since there is an administrative ban (against such marriages),” the Attorney added.
The defence lawyer, ABM Hamidul Mishbah, said that he would file an appeal to the Supreme Court against the order.
In October 2017, the country’s Law and Justice Ministry ordered civil registries to thoroughly scrutinize the identity documents of couples before registering a marriage, after a significant increase in the number of mixed relationships.
According to the United Nations Inter Sector Coordination Group, some 655,000 Rohingya refugees have arrived in Bangladesh since August 2017.
The current exodus was triggered by the Myanmar security forces launching an operation in retaliation for an attack by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) on several security posts in Rakhine State on August 25.
The governments of both the countries earlier reached an agreement on the process of repatriation for the Rohingya refugees present in Bangladesh. The process is expected to begin within two months.