Case spree on
Seventeen more cases, including six for sedition, were filed against The Daily Star Editor and Publisher Mahfuz Anam in 17 districts yesterday.
With these cases, he faces 35 lawsuits so far. Eight of them are complaints seeking to sue the editor for sedition while the rest are defamation suits.
The galore of lawsuits comes days after the Star editor at a talk show on February 3 made an introspective comment about a lapse in his editorial judgement in publishing a few reports based on information given by the Taskforce Interrogation Cell during the 2007-08 caretaker government without being able to verify them independently.
Following yesterday's defamation suits, four courts in Rangpur, Chapainawabganj, Khagrachhari and Natore summoned Mahfuz Anam to appear before them on March 1, April 28, March 16 and March 30 respectively.
Acting on the petitions seeking to bring sedition charges against Anam in Kurigram and Tangail, the courts there ordered local police to seek permission from the government, as required the law, and investigate the allegation.
In the 11 defamation cases, courts in Natore, Khagrachhari, Chapainawabganj and Rangpur issued summonses on Anam after taking the cases into cognisance.
In Kurigram, advocate Md Ruhul Amin Dulal, convener of district Jubo League, sought to sue Anam in a sedition case. Judge Maksudur Rahman of Additional Judicial Magistrate Court told officer-in-charge of the Sadar Police Station to probe the complaint after taking permission from the home ministry.
In Rajshahi, Abdus Salam, a public prosecutor of Metropolitan Judge's Court and president of Mohonpur upazila Awami League, submitted a plea to bring sedition charges against the editor. Rajshahi Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Court ordered the OC of Boalia Police Station to investigate the allegation.
In Tangail, advocate Joaherul Islam, general secretary of the district AL, brought sedition complaints and demanded Tk 100-crore in compensation from Anam.
Judge Md Aminul Islam of Senior Judicial Magistrate Court told the OC of Tangail Model Police Station to investigate the case after taking permission from the government and report back to it.
In Rangpur, organising secretary of district AL Motahar Hossain Moula filed a Tk 100-crore defamation case against Anam. Rangpur Senior Judicial Magistrate Shafiqul Alam summoned Anam to appear before it on March 1.
In Chapainawabganj, Ejabul Haque Buli, treasurer of Sadar unit AL, filed a libel suit against Anam. Senior Judicial Magistrate Nur Nabi issued a summons for Anam to appear before it on April 28.
In Khagrachhari, Teko Chakma, district unit president of pro-AL student body Chhatra League, sued Anam in a Tk 10-crore libel suit. Chief Judicial Magistrate Abu Sufian Md Noman summoned Anam on March 16, said plaintiff's lawyer Nazrul Islam.
In Sylhet, district Swechchhasebak League President Afsar Aziz Khan filed a Tk 150-crore defamation case. Judge Kudrati Khuda of Sylhet Judicial Magistrate Court-4 ordered an executive magistrate to probe the allegation and submit a report to it in 15 days.
In Sunamganj, Syed Abdul Kashem, organising secretary of the Awami League's United Kingdom unit, filed a defamation case seeking Tk 100-crore in compensation. Judge Shahidul Islam took the suit into cognisance.
In Cox's Bazar, ex-Moheshkhali municipality mayor Sarwar Azom filed a Tk 100-crore defamation suit. Senior Judicial Magistrate Arun Pal ordered the senior assistant superintendent of police to probe the allegation and report back immediately.
In Natore, Alek Uddin Sheikh, joint secretary of the ruling party's Sadar upazila unit, filed a Tk 50-crore defamation suit. After primary hearing, acting judicial magistrate Shamsul Alamin ordered Anam to appear before it on March 30.
In Thakurgaon, Sadek Kuraishi, district unit general secretary of the ruling AL, appealed to Senior Judicial Magistrate Saiful Islam of Cognizance Court-Ka to a sedition case against The Daily Star editor.
The court later ordered the officer-in-charge of Thakurgaon Police Station to take necessary steps upon government permission for investigating the charge as per section 196 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
The court scheduled March 2 for next hearing.
In Panchagarh, Nazrul Islam, general secretary of Panchagarh Lawyers' Association, also the law affairs secretary of Debiganj upazila AL, filed a petition to sue Aman for sedition before Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate BM Tariqul Kabir.
The court ordered the OC of Panchagarh Police Station to take necessary steps in this connection.
In Pabna, Rejaur Rahim Lal, vice-president of the district AL, filed a defamation suit against Anam. The court fixed today for the hearing.
In Laxmipur, Nurul Amin Raju, general secretary of Kamalnagar upazila AL, filed a defamation petition of Tk 100-crore.
Judge Monir Hossain of the Senior Judicial Magistrate Court asked the petitioner to submit necessary documents before it for next course of action.
In Kushtia, Asadul Haq Soleman, district president of Amra Mujib Sena, petitioned before the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate's Court to bring sedition charge against Mahfuz Anam.
In the plea, the plaintiff also brought a Tk 50,000 crore defamation charge against him.
Judge Mostafizur Rahman accepted the petition and fixed today for hearing.
In Rangamati, advocate Biplob Chakma, on behalf of Kazi Mohammad Jalwar who is president of district Jatiya Sramik League, filed a Tk 50-lakh defamation suit with a Rangamati court.
Without taking the case into cognisance, Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate Sabrina Ali asked the petitioner to submit names and identities of the witnesses of the case.
In Comilla, Jadab Chandra Roy, Bangladesh Chhatra League's education affairs secretary there, filed a defamation case demanding six-month imprisonment of Anam.
Taking the case into cognisance, Judge Tareque Aziz of the Chief Magistrate's Court, ordered the district information officer to submit a report before it by March 21.