Militant snatching incident exposes security loopholes
Only four cops were escorting 12 militants, including death row convicts, when unidentified attackers attacked and snatched two of them away from Dhaka Chief Judicial Magistrate court premises on Sunday.
The incident again exposed the security loopholes in courts while dealing with militants and high-risk criminals.
The 12 militants are death row inmates, convicts and accused of high-profile murder cases of publisher Faisal Arefin Dipan, blogger and writer Avijit Roy, LGBT rights activist Xulhaz Mannan and Mahbub Rabbi Tonoy and blogger Nazim Uddin.
Witnesses and police officials said the militants were taken to the court premises in the morning from jail. A police team produced them before the Dhaka Anti-terrorism Special Tribunal on the seventh floor of the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court around 11:00 am.
The attack came when the militants were being taken to the prison cell at the court, nearly 200-yard from the tribunal, after hearing.
A four-member police team led by Assistant Sub-Inspector Mohiuddin was escorting the militants who were cuffed in pairs. The three constables were Nur-e-Azad, Sharif and Abdus Sattar.
The criminals arrived on motorbikes and attacked Constable Azad, who was taking four of the militants to the prison cell by the footpath adjacent to the court building.
The attackers could manage to whisk away two -- Moinul Hasan Shamim alias Samir alias Imran and Abu Siddiq Sohel, death row inmates of the Dipan murder case -- on bike, injuring the constable, witnesses and police said.
The two other constables along with eight militants were following Azad. ASI Mohiuddin was behind them, the sources told The Daily Star.
The attackers fled the scene leaving a bike on the spot.
This is not the first time that security at the Dhaka court premises was compromised.
On November 27 in 2019, at least two death row convicts in the Holey Artisan attack case managed to wear prayer caps inscribed with IS logo after a tribunal sentenced them and five other militants to death. One of the offenders later claimed that he got the prayer cap from an unknown person on the court premises.
Court sources said, after that incident, security at the Dhaka court premises was beefed up but lasted for a few months.
"Still security measures are inadequate when militants are produced before the courts… You will only see police's stringent activities on verdict days of different militancy cases when media coverage is significant," said a court official requesting anonymity.
Taking note of Sunday's developments, the Supreme Court has asked the police to strengthen the security at the courts across the country to avoid such incidences.