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Political Harassment Continues…

Edit Date:12/30/2010 12:00:00 AM

   

BANGLADESH


20 BJI men Arrested

 Police detained 20 Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami men, including former Member of Parliament Professor Mujibur Rahman from 1/J, 2/10, section-1, Kalwalapara of Mirpur-1 of the capital city Dhaka on 28 October, 2010. A 3 days police remand is granted for 19 arrested Jamat-men by the Court on 29 October 2010.

These Jamaat men were holding a special prayer at their Mirpur local office for Habibur Rahman, a party activist killed on October 28, 2006, by Awami League-led 14-party alliance. While special prayer was going on, Police headed by Officer-in-Charge Kazi Wazed Ali of Mirpur Police Station raided the office and held them without prior allegation and warrant of arrest. [1]

Police stated that, “In that building, the Jamaat men were holding a secret meeting as part of their anti-state activities.” Police claimed that, they had recovered six explosive-like substances, bomb making materials, 195 Jihadi (revolutionary) books, a sack full of leaflets, 5 banners scripted with Kalima[2] a laptop and some foreign currencies from that building.[3]

 

Person Arrested:

1.      Professor Mujibur Rahman (56), former Member of Parliament, Assistant Secretary General of Bangladesh Jamaat E Islmai Central committee and President of Sramik Kolyan Federation.

2.      Shafiqul Alam (57), Nayeb-e-Ameer, Bangladesh Jamaat E Islami, Khulna city unit

3.      Tazirul Islam (58), an executive member, Mirpur West unit.

4.      Mahfuzur Rahman (37), Ameer, Jamaat Mirpur thana (west) unit.

5.      Ruhul Amin (28)

6.      Munirul Islam (28)

7.      Idris Khan (20)

8.      Abdullah Al Noman (35)

9.      Md. Yasin (26)

10.  Nazmul Hasan (38), President, Word no. 12, Dhaka city north

11.  Hemayet Uddin (40)

12.  Mustafizur Rahman (60)

13.  Abdul Karim Akond (60)

14.  Haris Muhammad (43)

15.  Moazzem Hossen (40)

16.  Rubel Mridha (18)

17.  AKM Rokon Uddin

18.  Ahsanullah Patowary (62)

19.  Md. Rofiuddin (58), Secretar, Ward no. 12, Dhaka City north

20.  Advocate Abdul Hai (59)[4]

 

Politically-motivated case filed after two hours of Arrest:

20 Jamat-men arrested by the Police of Mirpur Model Police Station at 12:05pm on 28 October 2010 without any specific allegation. The case against these arrested men is filed after more than two hours later at 14:15pm.[5] Case is filed under sections 4 and 6 of Explosive Substances Act, 1908 based on some materials seized from the Jamat unit office. Let’s have a look on the list of materials seized by the police- 80 Coins, some Cables, 3 Steaks, 1 Laptop, 5 Banners scripted with Kalima, 1 Torch-lighter, 110 Leaflet of Bangladesh Jamat E Islami, 12 Money receipt books, 195 Zihadi books.[6] Those materials are termed as ‘bomb-making materials’ by the police. The wording of the FIR is like the arrested men were in a secret meeting where and conspiring against the government reflects the present government’s harassment over the opposition party. This intention of the government lights further clear when

Section 4 the Explosive Substances Act, 1908 states, Any person who [unlawfully or maliciously]− (a) does any act with intent to cause by an explosive substance, or conspires to cause by an   explosive substance, an explosion in Bangladesh of a nature likely to endanger life or to cause serious 2[injury to person or property]; or Punishment for attempt to cause explosive or for making or keeping explosive with  intent to endanger life or property (b) makes or has in his possession or under his control any  explosive substance with intent by means thereof to endanger life, or cause serious [injury to person or property] in Bangladesh, or to enable any  other person by means thereof to endanger life or cause serious [injury to person or property] in Bangladesh; shall, whether any explosion does or does not take place and whether any injury to person or property has been actually caused or not, be punished with 5[imprisonment for a term which may extend to twenty years and shall not be less than three years], to which fine may be added. But in no sense, the materials seized from Jamat office is under this section. The Governments politically motivated will to suppress the opposition proved when we go through the section 6 of said Act.[7]  

 

Nothing but a mere Continuation:

This incident of arrest is not new one in the regime of the Awami League led ruling party, rather this is a part of the ruling party’s suppression against their political oppositions by using legal tools. Every time they are trying to fulfill their political agenda abusing the state law. Now it has been every day incident. Police are arresting now and then the opposite leaders without any legal justification. Abdul Kader Molla and Mohammad Kamaruzzaman, two Assistant Secretary General of Bangladesh Jamaat-E-Islami were arrested just after they crossed the Court gate with a bail order from the apex court of the country.[8] Mirza Abbas, former Minister and one of the top leaders of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) was attacked and grievously hurt by the law enforcing agencies before being arrested.[9]

 

Explosive substance and Zihadi Books Drama!

Every time the police are arresting the opposite party leaders and raising the same allegation that they were in secret meeting and conspiring against government. Having the so called Zihadi Books and explosive substance is the common plea against the arrestees. Practically the books called ‘Zihadi’ by the police are nothing but some basic books on religion e.g. The Quaran and Hadith and its translation, the biography of the Prophet Muhammad and his followers. It’s surprising that, every of these books is authenticated by the proper authority of the Govt. Interestingly in some cases, even the books written by the most progressive writers of the world are shown as “Zihadi Books”.[10] The books recovered from Jamat office are listed in the Syllabus of Bangladesh Jamat E Islami, which is operated under the laws of Election Commission of the country. Till about 69 years, from the establishment of Bangladesh Jamat E Islami in 1941, those books are being read by the people of the country. Neither any law nor any Government’s notification ever banned any of those books.   

Recovering the explosive substance is another common ground behind almost every arrest. The substances shown as explosive or weapon making can in no sense be called so. For example, Coins, electric battery, torch lighter are shown as bomb-making materials in this very incident.[11]

Most often the arrestees are presented roughly before media immediately after arrest which obviously lowers their social status and reputation. Sometimes they are forced to confess before media. It is not allowed by the legal norms and principles of justice.

 

Violation of fundamental rights

This arrest is an express violation of fundamental rights guaranteed by the Bangladesh constitution. Article 33(1) states, No person who is arrested shall be detained in custody without being informed, as soon as may be, of the grounds for such arrest, nor shall he be denied the right to consult and be defended by a legal practitioner of his choice.” But in this incident the arrestees are unknown to their ground of arrest.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948 also guaranteed some basic human rights which are posed by every posed as human being. Article 5 states, No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” Article 3 incorporates, “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person. Article 9 said, “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.”

 

 

Recommendations:

 

1. As Bangladesh is a state party to various International laws. It must obey the provisions contained in them. Convention Against Torture and Other Forms of Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) are such laws. Under CAT, the Bangladesh government must ensure that any person who alleges he has been subject to torture has the right "to complain to and to have his case promptly and impartially examined by competent authorities." Under article 14 of the ICCPR, the Bangladesh government must ensure a fair and public trial for anyone charged with a criminal offense, and such a trial must take place "without undue delay." ICCPR also requires Bangladesh to protect freedom of expression.[12]

2. The utility of the separation of judiciary is that, cases can be dealt without political interference under it. So, to ensure an independent justice system, political interference must be removed as it is the major impediment to the proper justice. Without ensuring it, judicial system is meaningless and cannot work properly.

3. A fair and independent investigation system is must for an ideal justice system. Govt. has to be intimate to establish such a system that can be appreciated by international community. The government also needs to make clear to its security forces that the era of torture with impunity is over. Any criminal offence should be tried through the criminal justice system; it must not be punished by security forces outside of the due process of law. In the police remand, the directions of the HCD must be obeyed and ignoring those directions must be treated as ‘contempt of the Court”.

4. The bad culture of producing the accused before media for briefing must be stopped as it’s against the rule of law. Such admission has not any evidential value before the Court. So, Law enforcing Agencies must be prevented to set such drama.

 



[1] The Daily Amar Desh; 29 October 2010

[2] Kalima is the very basic statement which every muslim has to confess. The meaning of Kalima is ‘there is no God except Allah’

[3] The Daily Star; 29 October 2010

[4] List collected from First Information Report (FIR), Mirpur Model Thana case no 64, date 28/10/2010

[5] Mirpur Model Police Station case no 64 of 28.10.2010.

[6] First Information Report of the case no 64 of 28.10.2010 of Mirpur Model Police Station.

[7] Section 6: Any person who by the supply of or solicitation for money, the providing of premises, the  supply of materials, or in any manner whatsoever, procures, counsels, aids, abets, or is accessory to, the commission of any offence under this Act shall be punished with the punishment provided for the  offence.

[8] www.bdnews24.com;13 July 2010

[9] www.bdnews24.com; 26 June 2010

[10] A book named ‘GONOPROTIROKKHA’ written by Farhad Mazhar, the most progressive writer of the country was recovered and termed as Zihadi Book. (www.theindependentbd.com; 25 September 2010)

[11] The Daily Star; 29 October 2010

[12] Article 19 of ICCPR

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