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November 8, 2003 

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Five died in police custody in October

Five people died in police custody while two women and two children were violated by the law enforcers last month. Of them, three people died in two police stations in the capital and two others were shot dead by police and ansar. This was revealed by a survey report of Odhikar, a coalition for human rights. The report was prepared on the basis of reports published in different national dailies in October. Eight others also died in jail custody. Of them, six died following sickness, another from torture and the other committed suicide. According to the report 34 people were killed, 459 injured and 131 arrested in political violence during the period. Besides, 24 women were killed, six others tortured and another suffered acid-burns. Two also committed suicide on dowry-related incident. The report said 106 rape incidents occurred in October while 11 were killed after the rape, and 52 children were killed, 21injured, 40 raped, 18 abducted, four suffered acid burns and five committed suicide across the country. At least 30 women also suffered acid burns across the country during the period. Two journalists were injured, one arrested, six harassed, nine threatened and 14 others implicated in cases -Law Desk.

Four cops arrested on mugging charge

Four police personnel of Khilgaon Police Station has been arrested on charge of mugging Tk 2 lakh from a businessmen at Goran. The arrestees are police sub-inspector (SI) Shamsul Kabir, constables Helal and Azhar and Ansar Azad. The businessman Mr. Mahbubur Rahman Sentu said he along with co-traders Montu Mridha and Mohammad Harun of east Aganagar in Keraniganj went to Goran to meet Delwar Hossain to buy garments. At that timem a police team led by SIs Sahmsul Kabir and Shajahan Sabuj barged into the house and challenged them . He said the policemen shouted and frisked their bodies and took away Tk 2 lakh form them. He said SI Kabir ordered his men to arrest them and the policemen dragged them onto the pickup van. Locals rushed to the scene on hearing exchange of the 'angry shouts' between the policemen and the victims. Understanding the cause of the trouble, they caught the policemen, recovered Tk 1.46 lakh from them and handed them over to Arman Ali, officer-in-charge of Khilgaon Police Station and a case has been filed in this connection. -Ajker Kagoj, 01 November.

Body formed to frame anti-land grab laws

The government has formed a high-powered 11-member secretarial committee to prepare recommendations for formulation of tougher laws to check land grabbing. Cabinet Secretary Sa'adat Husain has been maid its chairman. The committee will recommend how to protect government and private land from grabbers, recover the occupied land and take legal and administrative action against offenders. Ten other members of the committee are secretaries of communications, home, land, local government, fisheries and livestock, environment and forest, housing and public works, expatriates welfare and overseas employment, shipping and law. The land ministry will give secretarial support to the committee that has been asked to submit its report to the government by January 31, 2004 along with its recommendations. The committee will also suggest streamlining the process of recovering land, identifying characteristics and working patterns of land grabbers and stern legal action against them. A national committee is likely to be formed on the basis of the recommendations of the secretarial committee to deal with public and private land grabbers -- if need be -- by amending the existing or enacting tougher laws. - Jugantor, 03 November.

Defamation suit against top AL leaders

Chief Whip Khandaker Delwar Hossain has filed a defamation suit against 13 central Awami League (AL) leaders of 100 crore Tk for including his and his son's name on a list of "101 BNP godfathers" . He filed the case in a court at Dhaka against AL General Secretary Abdul Jalil, presidium members Abdur Samad Azad, Abdur Razzak, Syeda Sajeda Chowdhury, Amir Hossain Amu, Tofail Ahmed, Suranjit Sengupta, Motia Chowdhury and Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim, advisory committee members ASHK Sadique, SAMS Kibria and leaders Abdul Shahid and Obaidul Kader with the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate's Court, Dhaka. In the case 53 people including 14 lawyers have been made prosecution witnesses. Mr. Delwar alleged that the AL at a press conference at its Dhanmondi office on 16 October published a list of what they termed 101 godfathers run by newspapers the next day. The list damaged his and his son Paban's personal, social and political image, Metropolitan Magistrate Emdadul Haq took the case into cognizance and issued summons upon the accused asking them to appear before the court on 2 December.- Bhorer Kagoj, 03 November.

Charge framing of Frigate case adjourned

A court in Dhaka has adjourned till November 20 the hearing on charge framing against former prime minister Sheikh Hasina in the frigate purchase graft case. Judge Rezaul Karim of the Special Court for Dhaka Division granted the adjournment in light of the fact that a criminal revision already filed with the High Court seeking quashment of the charges against Hasina might be up for hearing shortly. Five others accused in the case were present at the court yesterday. The Bureau of Anti-Corruption (Bac) filed the case against the accused with Tejgaon Police Station on August 7 last year for buying the frigate from South Korean company Daewoo at a price higher than offered by the lowest bidder. Daewoo, the fourth lowest bidder quoting $99.97 million, was awarded the contract that resulted in a loss of Tk 511.17 crore of public money, the case alleged. After a yearlong investigation, Bac pressed charges against the accused on August 3. - Daily Star, 6 November.

Sweden Aslam gets life term

A Dhaka court sentenced a top criminal, Sweden Aslam, to rigorous life imprisonment in a verdict that convicted him for the first time in the latest in a raft of criminal cases. Judge Mohammad Rezaul Islam of the Metropolitan Special Tribunal-6 said in his verdict that a state-declared criminal like Aslam should be punished to set an example. He observed that people usually feel discouraged to give statements against a state-declared criminal, but the prosecution witnesses in the May 1997 case against Aslam gave statements before court without hesitation. Both the prosecution and the defence completed their arguments on November 1 after the court recorded statements of 11 of 13 prosecution witnesses. Aslam was arrested at his DOHS home on May 20, 1997 after a case was filed with the Cantonment Police Station. A team of detectives led by AC Akram Hussain, now serving his jail term in the Rubel murder case, seized a pistol, a shotgun, a shooter gun, a revolver and six bullets from him. The investigation officer pressed charges against Aslam on July 10, 1997 and the court framed charges against him on January 14, 1998 before the trial began on September 14 the same year. It may be mentioned that another court cleared Aslam of charges in an arms case on 9 October. -Law Desk.

9 policemen sued in Chittagong

A case has been filed in connection with the reported custodial death of sawmill guard Md. Kanchon at Chittagong. Victim's wife Gulzar Begum filed the case with a metropolitan magistrate's court after a Bangladesh Society for the Enforcement of Human Rights (BSEHR) probe report revealed that Kanchon died following torture in police custody. Md. Kanchon, died on Friday (October 31) morning within 24 hours of his arrest by police from his house at Maddhyam Shahid Nagar under Bayezid thana. After hearing the case, the court of Metropolitan Magistrate Monwarul Islam directed the Deputy Commissioner (north) of Chittagong Metropolitan Police (CMP) to investigate the incident and inform the court about the probe report. The case was filed accusing nine persons including Sub-Inspector Tozammel Haq of Bayezid police station, his four colleagues and police source Giasuddin. Police arrested Md. Kanchon, son of Shamsul Haq, from his house at 3.00 am on Thursday and produced him before the court at around noon. He was admitted to jail hospital the same day. Later, Kanchon was rushed to Chittagong Medical College Hospital where the on-duty doctors declared him dead in the early hours of Friday. -Ittefaq, 6 November.

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