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“All Citizens are Equal before Law and are Entitled to Equal Protection of Law”-Article 27 of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh

Issue No: 239
May 27, 2006

This week's issue:
Star Law Analysis
For Your Information
Human Rights Reports-2005
Human Rights Advocacy
Rights Investigation
Law Opinion
Rights Corner
Law Week

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Law Week

Grenade Attack on UK Envoy
CID fails to submit charge sheet in 2 yrs
The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has failed to submit charge sheet in the case filed after a grenade attack in Sylhet left three people killed and 70 others including British High Commissioner Anwar Choudhury injured on May 21 in 2004. Though the investigators claimed to have done much progress in the investigation in the last two years, sources said nothing significant has been achieved so far in this case. The cases regarding four other bomb and grenade attacks in Sylhet in 2004 are also lying with the CID without any substantial progress, the sources added. Besides the grenade attack on the British envoy, a bomb blast took place at the shrine of Hazrat Shahjalal on January 12, bombs were blasted in two cinemas on August 5 and a grenade was thrown at a car after a meeting of city Awami League on August 7. The blasts left 10 people killed and scores injured. --The Daily Star, May 21.

Section 144 bars Ahmadiyyas from holding religious festival in B'baria
Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat could not hold their earlier scheduled religious festival 'Salana Jalsha' in the district town due to imposition of Section 144. The Ahmadiyya Muslims protested the religious bigots' barriers and imposing Section 144 by the district administration, and demanded giving back their mosque occupied by the fundamentalist force and legal help for holding its annual religious festival. The religious bigots called a Tafsir Mahfil only to foil their religious festival, Ahmadiyya leaders said at a press conference. The religious extremists have been interfering in their religious practice for over 50 years, they added. Khatme Nabuwat, an outfit of religious bigots, has been agitating against the Ahmadiyyas' religious practices in the country for long and demanding declaration of the community as non-Muslim. Reading out a written statement, Ahmadiyya Ameer Mohammad Monjur Hossain demanded that the government ensure constitutional rights to the Ahmadiyya people, give them back five mosques and help them in holding Salana Jalsha in the district. --The Daily Star, May 21.

Sylhet Blast Case JMB chief charged
A charge sheet was submitted to the Sylhet district headquarter magistrate court against the chief of outlawed JMB, Abdur Rahman, and his accomplices in connection with an explosives case. The case records were also sent to the district judge court fixing the next date for hearing on June 8. Superintendent of Sylhet Police Mallik Fokhrul Islam told the Daily Star that submission of the charge sheet was delayed as the central monitoring committee of the home ministry had recommended bringing some changes in it through further investigation in the first week of April. The committee made the recommendation after detecting some flaws in it while giving it a final check. Accordingly, the case was transferred to the Detective Branch (DB) and Inspector Saiful Alam Chowdhury was made the investigation officer (IO). As the charge sheet could not be made ready during the stipulated time, extensions for completing the job was given twice, which ends this week. --The Daily Star, May 22.

Shanta's case against cops dismissed
A Dhaka court dismissed the case of Shahin Sultana Shanta, victim of police brutality during a protest programme of the 14-party opposition alliance on March 12. Judge Kaniz Akhter Nasrina Khanam of the Fourth Special Tribunal for Women and Children Repression dismissed the case, saying allegations brought against two deputy commissioners of police, a constable and 14 other unnamed cops were not proved. But primary investigation of a judicial inquiry commission found evidence of torture by police, who were also widely filmed by the media on that day. "Such activities of police are a punishable crime under Bangladesh Penal Code," Metropolitan Magistrate Shafiq Anwar, who headed the one-member commission, said in his report, which was submitted before the tribunal. It could have been appropriate for the police to arrest her and send to the court, but that was not done, said the report. Two days after the police excesses on Road No 27 in Dhanmondi, Shanta filed a case with the Court of Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (CMM), Dhaka against 17 cops. --The Daily Star, May 22.

Another rule on govt on tele-tapping
The High Court (HC) issued a rule on the government and Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) to explain within three weeks why tele-tapping of conversations of subscribers by different intelligence agencies, investigation authorities and other law enforcement agencies should not be declared illegal.
The HC rule also asked the government and the BTRC to show cause why the Telecommunication (Amendment) Act 2006 should not be declared unconstitutional. The rule followed a writ petition filed by M Sanaullah, news editor of the Prothom Alo, and Abu Saeed Khan, a freelance journalist, as public interest litigation (PIL). Respondets of the rule are secretaries of the ministries of post and telecommunications, law, justice and parliamentary affairs, and home, and chairman of the BTRC. The BTTB and mobile companies are pro forma respondents.--The Daily Star, May, 23.

SC asks EC to update current voter roll
The Supreme Court (SC) upheld the High Court (HC) directives and observations over the Election Commission's (EC) preparation of a voter list for the next general elections with modification of two HC directives. After a five-day hearing on the chief election commissioner's (CEC) leave to appeal against the January 4 HC directives to consider the existing electoral roll as a major basis, the full bench of SC headed by Chief Justice Syed JR Mudassir Hossain rejected the CEC's appeal and delivered the verdict. In a crowded courtroom, the court said the appeal is dismissed "with modifications on the findings and observations, and directives given by the High Court division in the impugned judgement and order."
Meanwhile, the HC issued a contempt rule on CEC MA Aziz, the two election commissioners and acting secretary to the EC Secretariat to explain within three weeks why the contempt charge should not be brought against them for their non-compliance with the January 4 HC directives, observations and findings regarding preparation of the voter list.
Terming the SC verdict "very significant", legal experts told the press yesterday that the draft voter list will be considered illegal now and the EC will have to update the electoral roll by making necessary corrections and additions to the existing one prepared in 2000. The SC modifications of the HC judgement have also strengthened it, they said. The SC verdict said the EC should prepare the electoral rolls taking into consideration the existing one under section 7(6) of the Electoral Rolls Ordinance 1982. The HC gave directives and made some observations on January 4 following two writ petitions filed by Awami League (AL) leaders and lawmakers Abdul Jalil, Rahmat Ali and Asaduzzaman Noor on December 12 last year, challenging the CEC's "unilateral" decision to prepare a fresh voter list.--The Daily Star, May 23.

Corresponding with the Law Desk
Please send your mails, queries, and opinions to: Law Desk, The Daily Star 19 Karwan Bazar, Dhaka-1215; telephone 8124944,8124955,fax 8125155;email <dslawdesk@yahoo.co.uk,lawdesk@thedailystar.net


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