'Politically motivated' cases to be dropped | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 18, 2009 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, February 18, 2009

'Politically motivated' cases to be dropped

64 district committees formed to expedite process

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The 10-member high-powered committee for reviewing 'politically motivated' cases filed during past governments, in its first meeting yesterday formed a central subcommittee and 64 district committees to expedite the process.
The central subcommittee has four members headed by State Minister for Law Quamrul Islam, while the six-member district committees are headed by district magistrates.
"The cases filed with political motives under different governments will be withdrawn after review," Law Minister Shafique Ahmed told reporters after the meeting in the home ministry's conference room.
The 10-member committee was formed earlier this month.
The law minister said the government will review politically motivated cases filed in a bid to harass innocent people since the independence of the country. "The cases will be withdrawn to establish the rule of law," he added.
Asked if apolitical people facing false cases may apply for the review, he said, "Any aggrieved person including political leaders and activists will be able to apply for review of the cases against them."
According to the meeting's decision, the district committees will soon officially invite applications for review. "Forty-five days will be given to submit applications to the committees," said an official of the home ministry following yesterday's meeting.
He said the district committees will have another 45 days for scrutinising the applications, before sending those to the central sub-committee for further verification, which will then submit a final recommendation to the 10-member committee.
"The ten-member committee will decide how many cases and which ones will be withdrawn," said the official.
Sources in the home ministry said although the new government is saying that cases filed since independence will be reviewed, the focus of the review however will be on the cases filed during the BNP-Jamaat-led four-party regime and the immediate past caretaker government.
Ascending to power in 2001, the BNP-Jamaat alliance government took a similar initiative acquitting 72,000 persons indicted in 7,000 cases. A number of known criminals including killers and rapists were also acquitted, earning the government much public criticism.
On how long it will take to throw away the cases since submission of applications for review, the law minister yesterday said there is no particular timeline, adding that millions of cases are pending in different courts all over the country.
Other than the law minister the 10-member committee also include Home Minister Sahara Khatun, State Minister for Home Sohel Taj, LGRD Minister Syed Ashraful Islam, State Minister for Law Quamrul Islam, the home secretary, additional home secretary, joint secretary (police), joint secretary (political), and a deputy secretary to the law ministry.
Chaired by the law minister, yesterday's meeting was also attended by the home minister, LGRD minister, state minister for law, and the state minister for home among others.

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