The BNP yesterday alleged that journalist Shafik Rehman was arrested and taken on remand because of a Facebook status of the prime minister's son Sajeeb Wazed Joy.
Joy had written that the US Department of Justice discovered Shafik Rehman's direct involvement in the plot to kidnap and kill him.
Terming the allegation of a plot to abduct and kill Joy “imaginary and baseless”, BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir claimed that the US court, which tried Rizvi Ahmed Caesar and an FBI agent, did not take into cognisance the allegation brought by Joy.
Speaking at a press conference at BNP chief Khaleda Zia's Gulshan office, Fakhrul also questioned as to why there was no discussion “on Joy and a dubious transaction of $300 million which surfaced in the trial of the case in the US court”.
Joy in another Facebook status posted on Friday wrote, “Shafik Rehman had direct contact with the convicted FBI agent Robert Lustyk…”
Lambasting those supporting Shafik Rehman, Joy wrote, “The BNP and some of our 'civil society' have been very busy on the defensive regarding Shafik Rehman. So let me provide a few concrete facts:
“According to US court records, the convicted FBI agent Robert Lustyk had written in text messages that Rizvi Ahmed Caesar wanted to 'off' me. This is slang in the US for killing someone. So Ahmed had told his co-conspirator that he wanted to kill me, well before he was arrested…”
“Shafik Rehman had direct contact with Lustyk. If a journalist is involved in criminal activity to obtain documents, then that is a crime. This was a crime in the US so Shafik Rehman can be tried by the US as well.
“Finally, Shafik Rehman as a non-US citizen had obtained secret FBI files through bribery. In the US this is espionage and the sentence for that is life in a maximum security US prison,” Joy wrote.
Fakhrul in the briefing said a case was filed against American citizen Rizvi Ahmed Caesar in 2011 for bribing a special FBI agent to collect important and confidential information about Joy.
“Caesar had also got some documents and files. He committed a crime by bribing a government official and the FBI official's offence was taking the bribe and handing over the government's document to an individual without permission,” he said.
Fakhrul said when the case was in trial, Joy brought the allegation against Caesar of a plan to abduct and kill him.
However, Fakhrul said the US court in its verdict on March 4, 2015 acquitted Caesar of the allegation of planning to kill and harm Joy. “The court also denied accepting Sajeeb Wazed Joy as a victim,” he said.
He said there was no mentioned of any BNP leader or Shafik Rehman and Mahmudur Rahman in the charge sheet, in the USA government's report and in any statement of witnesses.
Even their names were not there in the FIR lodged with Dhaka's Ramna Police Station and the case filed with Paltan Police Station in this connection, Fakhrul said, adding, “A plot is on to unjustly implicate Shafik Rehman and Mahmudur Rahman in a false allegation.”
On the “suspicious transaction” of $300 million (Tk 2,500 crore), Fakhrul said, “Why is the government not saying anything about Joy and the suspicious transaction of $300 million?
“No trial is also being held for the plundering of thousands of crores of taka from Share Market and different banks. We want to say people have the right to know whether there is any link between the two matters,” the BNP secretary general said.
He demanded a neutral and effective investigation into the matter.