Shafik, Mahmudur's names came up in the US, says PM | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 19, 2016 / LAST MODIFIED: 09:17 AM, April 19, 2016

Shafik, Mahmudur's names came up in the US, says Bangladesh PM Hasina

Alleges their links to 'plot to kidnap and kill her son'

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday said a conspiracy to abduct and kill her son Sajeeb Wazed Joy was unearthed in the United States, and the names of Shafik Rehman and Mahmudur Rahman came up in this connection in a US court.

“It [the conspiracy] didn't took place in Bangladesh … it happened in the US, and their intelligence and court have unveiled this conspiracy,” said Hasina.

She said the US probe found that a BNP leader bribed an FBI man to get Joy abducted and murdered. "They said this in the court and also mentioned the names of Shafik Rehman and Mahmudur Rahman. These are not our words, these are all proved in the US court."

The PM was speaking at a discussion at the Krishibid Institution, Bangladesh (KIB), organised by the Awami League to mark the historic Mujibnagar Day.

She said the government would definitely take action against those who will be found involved in the conspiracy, reports UNB.

The PM also came down heavily on those who have condemned the arrest of Shafik Rehman and Mahmudur Rahman, saying a person accused of a crime cannot escape legal action on human rights grounds, reports BSS.

"I don't know what kind of journalism and press freedom they believe in. They criticise the arrest but say nothing about the big conspiracy of those journalists, unearthed by FBI," she said.

Amar Desh Editor Mahmudur Rahman, a pro-BNP journalist and a former energy adviser, has been behind bars since April 2013.  He is likely to be shown arrested in the case filed for the alleged plot to abduct and murder Joy, a top DB official told The Daily Star on Monday.

In the same case, senior journalist and pro-BNP intellectual Shafik Rehman is on a five-day remand following his arrest from his house in the capital on Saturday morning.

Regarding the arrest, Joy, also ICT adviser to the prime minister, in a Facebook post said, “The US Department of Justice discovered Shafik Rehman's direct involvement in the plot to kidnap and kill me.”

He also said, “They provided this evidence to our government. He was arrested based on this evidence. I cannot disclose more, but the evidence is direct and irrefutable.”

Addressing the programme yesterday, Hasina said, "The accused persons should feel ashamed when their names come up in connection with a conspiracy in a foreign country and in the court of law."

And the critics should condemn the offenders instead of criticising the government, she said.

"I think they don't like to consider an offender as an offender and perhaps they will not feel any necessity of their trial for this terrible conspiracy. How did they turn a blind eye on a journalist's misdeed?"

She added, "None had raised the question of our human rights when the killers responsible for destroying my family were given impunity."

Hasina suggested the critics deal with the FBI instead of slamming her government as the US agency has found those names during probe.

Referring to an FBI report on involvement of a number of BNP leaders in the alleged plot to abduct and kill Joy, she said BNP leaders siphoned off crores of money abroad during their rule, reports BSS.

With that money, she said, they now hire FBI officers to cause damage to the Awami League.

"Our government always takes measures wherever it finds any injustice. We never indulge in any injustice and we will not do so in future," the prime minister said.

Meanwhile, a Dhaka court yesterday fixed April 25 to hear the prayer submitted by detectives seeking arrest of Mahmudur Rahman in the case.

In the presence of Mahmudur, the court is likely to hear the prayer the same day.

Hassan Arafat, assistant commissioner of Detective Branch of police and also investigation officer of the case, submitted the prayer before the court of Metropolitan Magistrate Md Nurunnabi.

The IO also sought a 10-day remand to quiz Mahmudur in the case.

In the prayer, Hassan said Mohammad Ullah Mamun, vice-president of BNP's cultural wing Jatiyatabadi Samajik Sangskritik Sangstha (Jasas), and top leaders of the BNP and different components in the BNP-led alliance started hatching the conspiracy in September 2011.

Hasan Arafat also mentioned that the accused persons met in the UK, the US and in Dhaka's Paltan and other parts of the country.

He added that the conspirators gave responsibility to Mamun and provided money to materialise their plan.

It was also mentioned in the prayer that Rizvi Ahmed, son of Mamun, was awarded 42 months' imprisonment by a US court in connection with the conspiracy.

The IO said Rizvi during his trial in the US admitted that he got $30,000 from a Bangladeshi journalist, a political ally and a private detective in exchange for information on Joy.

According to the IO, Rizvi collected the information on Joy after bribing an FBI agent.

The IO said their investigation into the case has got primary evidence that the political ally was Mahmudur Rahman, energy adviser to a past BNP government.

'DIRTY TRICK'

Senior BNP leader Nazrul Islam Khan yesterday slammed the law enforcers for arresting veteran journalist Shafik Rehman by playing a “dirty trick”.

“Law enforcers cannot arrest anyone in plainclothes. But plainclothes policemen, posing as journalists, picked up Shafik Rehman from his house,” he said at a programme in Dhaka.

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