Fresh remand for journalist Shafik

Police taking senior journalist Shafik Rehman to a court in the capital yesterday. The court placed him on five-day fresh remand in a case filed over an alleged plot to kidnap and kill the prime minister's son Sajeeb Wazed Joy. Photo: Star

A Dhaka court yesterday placed Shafik Rehman on a fresh five-day remand in a case filed over an alleged plot to kidnap and kill prime minister's son Sajeeb Wazed Joy.

Metropolitan Magistrate Mahmudul Hasan passed the order after the Detective Branch (DB) of police produced the veteran journalist before the court with a seven-day remand prayer.

His first five-day remand ended on Thursday.

His lawyer Sanaullah Miah told The Daily Star that they opposed the plea for the fresh remand yesterday, saying the journalist was an elderly person and was not “involved in any sort of conspiracy”.

He alleged that police were forcing his client to give false statements.

“Police claim that they have seized some papers from the house of Shafik Rehman. But we were not given the list [of the papers] or told what was in them,” he said.

Earlier in the day, Mashruqure Rahman Khaled, deputy commissioner of the DB (south division) of Dhaka Metropolitan Police, told The Daily Star, “He [Shafik Rehman] needs to be interrogated further as we have already gleaned some important information from him.”

On April 16, plainclothes detectives arrested Shafik at his Eskaton Road house in the capital. The same day, he was placed on the five-day remand.

Police on Tuesday claimed that Shafik Rehman admitted having more than one meeting with those in the US allegedly involved in the plot to abduct and kill Joy, who lives in the US.

DMP Additional Commissioner Monirul Islam said Shafik admitted meeting four persons, including the three convicted by a US court over bribing an FBI special agent to collect confidential information. They are US-Bangladesh citizen Rizve Ahmed Caesar, former FBI special agent Robert Lustyik and his "contact" Johannes Thaler.

According to the case statement, Caesar's father Mamun and some top leaders of the BNP and its allies met in the UK, the US and various places of Bangladesh before September 2012 and conspired to abduct and kill the PM's son.

In March last year, Caesar was convicted by a US court for bribing an FBI special agent to collect information regarding a Bangladeshi political figure.

The US Justice Department did not name the figure, but it is believed to be Joy.

In a Facebook post on March 9 last year, Joy, also ICT affairs adviser to the prime minister, accused BNP leaders of conspiring to abduct and kill him.

Shafik, who also holds British citizenship, worked in various media outlets, including the BBC, but came in the limelight after becoming editor of the weekly Jaijaidin in the 1980s.