Defamation Case

Star editor gets bail in Gazipur

The Daily Star Editor and Publisher Mahfuz Anam obtained bail in a Tk 5-crore defamation case in Gazipur yesterday.

Gazipur Senior Judicial Magistrate Iqbal Masud passed the order after Anam appeared before the court and petitioned for bail through his lawyers.

The court fixed March 16 for the next hearing on the case.

Amanat Hossain Khan, education secretary of Gazipur district unit of ruling Awami League, filed the defamation suit on February 17. The court had issued a summons asking Anam to appear before it.

It is one of the 79 cases that have been filed against the Star editor in 53 districts since February 9. Of the cases, 17 are pleas for bringing sedition charges against him. The complaints cite Tk 1,32,811 crore as losses incurred due to defamation.

The case spree began after Anam at a TV talk show on February 3 made an introspective comment about a lapse in his editorial judgment in publishing some reports, based on information given by the Taskforce Interrogation Cell during the 2007-08 caretaker government rule, without being able to verify those independently.

The cases against the Star editor have drawn condemnation from local and foreign journalists and their unions as well as human rights bodies.

Yesterday, Advocate Sultan Uddin, former president of Gazipur Bar Association, and Emran Hossain, incumbent general secretary of the bar association, led the defence team.