DHAKA  - A Bangladesh court Thursday jailed a newspaper editor for seven years for trying to travel to Israel more than a decade ago to speak about a rise in militancy.

Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury, 48, who edits the Weekly Blitz newspaper, was found guilty of harming the country’s interests through his articles as well as trying to make a banned trip to Israel, said prosecutor Shah Alam Talukder.

The ruling also came just a day after another court indicted top human rights activists on similar charges for publishing “false” details of a police crackdown - a case criticised by local and international rights groups. Choudhury was arrested in November 2003 at Dhaka airport as he tried to a conference in Tel Aviv to present a paper on the emergence of ‘Islamic militancy’ in Bangladesh, Talukder said.

“Police seized several CDs, a laptop and a Dhaka-Bangkok-Tel Aviv air ticket from him. He was going to Israel to speak on the rise of militancy in the country and how the madrassas are being used to spawn militants,” Talukder told AFP.

Muslim-majority Bangladesh does not have any diplomatic relations with Israel and the country’s 154 million citizens are banned from travelling there.