National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Chairman Mizanur Rahman yesterday expressed surprise that many foreign organisations were asking the government to withdraw the cases against an editor.
“Today the series of cases that we are seeing against an editor is not filed by the state. What has happened so far is because of the initiatives of individuals. Or you can say they did it being over enthusiastic,” he said.
“…Does the government or the state have any right or jurisdiction to withdraw a case if it is filed by an individual?”
Mizanur was talking to reporters after the inauguration of a law school at Chittagong Independent University in Jamalkhan area of the port city yesterday noon.
He claimed that it was being assumed that the cases were being filed not by individuals but by “someone else”. He called the assumption baseless.
There may be some “personal issues” behind the cases, he added.
At one point, journalists asked him whether Mahfuz Anam, editor and publisher of The Daily Star, was being harassed because of the cases against him.
In reply, the NHRC boss praised the editor for admitting his mistake but said it was also necessary that the allegations being brought against him be investigated.
The Star editor has been facing a barrage of cases since February 9, days after he made an introspective comment about a lapse in his editorial judgement in publishing some reports, based on information given by the Task Force Interrogation cell during the 2007-08 caretaker government's tenure, without being able to verify those independently.
During the period, almost all the media outlets, both print and electronic, ran similar stories.
This newspaper published 11 such reports -- seven on alleged corruption of Khaleda Zia, her two sons -- Tarique Rahman and Arafat Rahman Koko -- and other BNP leaders. Three reports were on graft allegations against Sheikh Hasina and the other one on the then chief conservator of forests, Osman Gani.