Latif meets lawyer
Abdul Latif Siddique has appointed a lawyer to represent him in the cases filed for his remarks on hajj and Tablighi Jamaat, which many find derogatory.
Jyotirmoy Barua, a Supreme Court lawyer on human rights, yesterday met Latif at Dhaka Central Jail and talked to him for around half an hour from 12:30pm, Senior Jail Super Farman Ali told The Daily Star last night.
The appointment came a day after Latif surrendered to a Dhaka court. There, he had said he would speak for himself and need no lawyer. Then the court sent him to jail.
Jyotirmoy was hired at a time when pro-Awami League lawyers refused to represent their former leader at court.
A total of 22 cases were filed against Latif after he made critical comments on hajj, Tablighi Jamaat and the prime minister's son Sajeeb Wazed Joy at a programme in the US on September 28. Arrest warrants were issued in several cases.
He was sacked from the cabinet and the AL presidium, and expelled from the ruling party for the same.
Jyotirmoy Barua told The Daily Star last night that Latif had contacted him through a staff.
“He appointed me his lawyer as he decided to fight in all the cases,” said Jyotirmoy.
“I agreed to defend him on one ground only -- an individual has the constitutional right to freedom of expression,” he said, declining to give details of his conversation with the lawmaker from Tangail-4.
A pro-AL lawyer, seeking anonymity, said they did not stand for Latif as the party no more owned him.
“Besides, it is a sensitive and political issue now.”
Defending Latif may give a wrong message about the AL to the religion-based political parties and organisations and they might use the issue against the government, he added.
Apart from Jyotirmoy, one of Latif's nieces and his personal staff met him yesterday with some clothes, said Farman Ali, adding that Latif had taken the food allocated for an arrestee in a division cell. “We have exchanged pleasantries and he seemed to be in good health.”