Over 20,000 opposition men arrested since Oct 28
Bangladesh Jatiyatabadi Ainjibi Forum, a body of pro-BNP lawyers, yesterday alleged that 20,326 opposition leaders and activists were arrested in more than 837 "fabricated and ghost cases" filed after October 28.
It demanded the immediate release of all the arrestees, including lawyers, and withdrawal of the cases.
At least 73,123 opposition activists were accused in the cases and over 8,249 were injured in attacks and police action, it said.
"Seventeen people, including a journalist, were killed and 636 were sentenced to different terms in 35 cases over the last three months."
During a press conference at the South Hall of the Supreme Court Bar Association, BJAF Secretary General Kayser Kamal said, "More than 50 lakh leaders and activists have been accused in 1.5 lakh cases between 2009 and 2023."
He claimed that a court on November 15 sentenced Supreme Court lawyer Nur-A-Alam Siddique Sohag to two years in a false case.
Earlier, two lawyers from Satkhira were jailed for 10 years in a false and political case, Kayser claimed.
He said imprisoned political leaders and activists were not getting bail despite having valid grounds.
" … It seems to us that our courts cannot function independently. Filing false and ghost cases against opposition leaders and activists, forcing them to leave their homes, detaining them in unknown places, torture in police custody, denying bail, and wholesale sentencing have become daily incidents … ," said Kayser, also the BNP's legal affairs secretary.
BJAF President AJ Mohammad Ali, former SCBA secretaries AM Mahbub Uddin Khokon, Md Bodruddoza Badal and Md Ruhul Quddus Kazal and BJAF's SC Unit General Secretary Gazi Kamrul Islam Sajal also spoke at the press conference.