Probir gets justice

The journalist who came under attack for his stance against war crimes acquitted in a case filed under ICT Act over a Facebook post

"… the case was lodged by a highly politically ambitious person who did not sustain any injury due to the alleged post."

— The tribunal observed

A journalist who wrote in favour of the Liberation War and against war criminals and war crimes, and suffered assaults because of it, was yesterday acquitted of charges in a case filed under the ICT Act in 2015 over a Facebook post.

Judge Mohammad Ash Sams Joglul Hossain of the Dhaka Cyber Tribunal issued the acquittal order in the case filed against journalist Probir Sikdar, 61, under the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Act.

The judge observed that 11 of Probir's relatives sacrificed their lives during the Liberation War of 1971 and that Probir was unkindly injured for his stance in favour of the war and against war crimes as well as war criminals.

In the judgement, the judge said Probir sustained severe injuries due to publishing newspaper reports against the Razakars between 2000 and 2001.

He had been victim of Molotov cocktail attacks which left him crippled, so it was not unnatural for him to continuously fear for his life, the judgement said.

In Probir's Facebook post on August 10, 2015, he said his life was under threat and the then Local Government and Rural Development Minister Khandkar Mosharraf Hossain, businessman Moosa Bin Shamser and condemned fugitive war criminal Abul Kalam Azad would be responsible if he was killed.

The journalist was arrested on August 16, 2015, soon after Faridpur Awami League leader Swapan Kumar Paul filed a case against him under section 57(2) of the ICT Act over the Facebook post with Kotwali Police Station in Faridpur.

Probir Sikdar did not use any slang or any obscene words against any victims, the judge said, adding that the alleged victims did not feel it necessary to react or protest through their comments.

Any of the three alleged victims of defamation of Probir's post or their relatives did not file a case, the judge said in his judgement.

The judge termed "defamation" as very much a personal injury. Instead, the case was lodged by a highly politically ambitious person in August 2015 though he did not sustain any injury due to Probir's post, the judge added.

Probir (55), editor of Daily Bangla 71, who was out on bail in the case after spending two days in jail following his arrest, appeared before the tribunal yesterday.

He was accompanied by his elder son Suprio Sikdar. The journalist was in the dock when the judge announced the verdict at 12:30pm.

In the verdict, the judge said the prosecution failed to prove the charges against the accused.

On March 16, 2016, investigation officer Monir Hossain, also a sub-inspector of the same police station, filed the charge sheet of the case with the Chief Judicial Magistrate's Court in Faridpur.

Later, the case was transferred to the Cyber Tribunal for disposal.

On August 4 that year, the tribunal framed charges against Probir Sikdar. Ten prosecution witnesses gave their depositions before the tribunal.


Probir Sikdar expressed satisfaction over the judgement in the case.

"I am grateful to the journalist community as well as others for their support," he said while talking to the journalists after the judgement at the court premises yesterday.

"I'll continue to protest any wrongdoing in this country, even if I'm alone in doing so," he said.

The journalist said that the court's verdict had boosted his courage.

"I have won this six-year legal battle, but my personal life has been devastated. I had to sell land in the village to pay legal fees," he said.

"Nobody gives me any work… I run a newspaper, but no one gives any advertisement," Probir said, adding that truth has triumphed in the end.