Star editor gets bail in Jessore
A Jessore court yesterday granted bail to The Daily Star Editor and Publisher Mahfuz Anam in a Tk 10-crore defamation case.
The Senior Judicial Magistrate's Court fixed May 10 for the next hearing on the libel suit filed by Shahjahan Kabir, former president of Awami League's Chougachha upazila unit.
During the hearing on the bail petition filed by Anam, defence counsel Kazi Faridul Islam told the court that there was no defamatory element in the complaint.
The lawyer argued that the Star editor had earlier got bail from a Rangpur court in a similar case, and he should be granted bail in this lawsuit as well.
The prosecution opposed the bail plea.
After the hearing, Senior Judicial Magistrate Md Shahjahan Ali granted Anam bail upon the signing of a bond of Tk 5,000 with two guarantors.
Following the filing of the case in Jessore on February 16, the court summoned Anam to appear before it on March 6.
A case spree against the Star editor began days after he, 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.
Of the 79 cases filed in 53 districts, 17 are pleas for bringing sedition charges against Anam. A total of Tk 132,811 crore has been claimed as compensation in the complaints.
The cases against the Star editor have drawn condemnation from local and foreign journalists and their unions as well as human rights bodies.