Don't file cases without nod from centre
Amid allegations of gross misuse of the ICT Act's section 57, the ruling Awami League has directed the party men to obtain permission from its central unit before filing any case under the section.
AL General Secretary Obaidul Quader recently gave the directive to the grassroots leaders, according to party sources.
If any AL man files a case under the section without permission, the party will take organisational actions against the plaintiff.
The ruling party made the move against the backdrop of huge criticism from different quarters over the filing of a case by Barisal city AL leader Obaidullah Sazu in June.
The plaintiff accused then Barguna Sadar upazila nirbahi officer Gazi Tariq Salman of distorting a portrait of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. The incident led to the arrest of the then UNO.
Facing a barrage of criticism, the AL suspended Sazu for showing “over enthusiasm” in filing the case.
Earlier on August 2, the Police Headquarters issued an instruction to all the police stations across the country, asking them to consult its legal wing before recording any case under section 57.
The AL general secretary earlier said use of section 57 for trifling matters should be stopped; otherwise, it would be suicidal.
About the party's latest directive, AL Joint General Secretary Mahbubul Alam Hanif said the decision was made to stop misuse of section 57.
Right activists and journalists have been demanding repeal of section 57 for its “widespread misuse to muzzle freedom of speech and the press”. They say the section has vague wording, allowing it to be used for silencing journalists and social media users.
Under the ICT Act, police upon investigation of crimes submit either a charge sheet or a final report to the Cyber Tribunal in Dhaka, the lone tribunal to deal with such cases.
According to a tribunal source, the court till July 30 received 763 final reports from police since the law was amended in 2013 with provisions for harsher punishments.
Ninety percent of the cases were filed under section 57 and a large number of those were filed by ruling party men, the source added.
The actual number of cases is much higher as police file final reports with the court only after completing investigations into the cases.
Of the 763 cases, 205 have so far been disposed of -- 84 after trial and the rest either after getting final reports or after being withdrawn by plaintiffs.
This year, the tribunal has received 342 reports in as many cases till July 30. Of them, 300 were filed under section 57.
NARAIL JCD LEADER HELD
Police have arrested a Chhatra Dal leader in Narail in a case filed under the ICT Act for allegedly posting and sharing distorted photos of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and ex-home minister Sahara Khatun on Facebook, reports UNB.
Sub-Inspector Saiful Islam of Lohagora Police Station said they arrested Lelin Khan, 22, vice-president of JCD Lohagora municipality unit, from Narail's Hatirbagar area on Wednesday night, hours after he posted and shared the photographs.
Sagir Uddin Sonet, vice-president of Narail Chhatra League, filed the case with the police station.