Sued Under DSA: JnU student moved to condemned cell for ‘misbehaviour’
A Jagannath University student, who has been languishing in jail since August last year after being sued under the DSA, has been shifted to a condemned cell, where inmates waiting execution are kept in solitary confinement.
The student, Khadijatul Kubra, was arrested in two cases under the Digital Security Act on August 27 and has since been denied bail five times.
She is only being allowed out of her condemned cell for two hours every day, confirmed the jail superintendent.
At the age of 17, Khadija was sued as an adult in 2020 by Kalabagan and New Market police stations.
The Daily Star verified her age from her National ID card and academic documents.
Her crime was hosting a Facebook webinar, where a guest speaker made "contentious" remarks.
The guest speaker was Major (retired) Delwar Hossain, who lives abroad and has a large social media following for his shows where current events and politics are discussed.
Obaidur Rahman, superintendent of Kashimpur Women's Central Jail, said Khadija has been shifted to the condemned cell for seven days for "misbehaviour".
"She was taken to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University Hospital for a health checkup [on March 15] upon the [law] ministry's instruction, but she refused to cooperate with the medical authorities."
Apart from those two hours that she is allowed outside, Khadija spends the whole day inside the cell with two inmates keeping guard to ensure she does not self-harm, he added.
Khadija's family says she has kidney stones, for which she has chronic pain in her abdomen.
"It is because of her health that she was taken to the hospital for a checkup," said Khadija's sister Sirajum Monira.
She denied the claims of Khadija being uncooperative with the medical authorities.
"She is being accused of mixing water with the urine sample she had to give … That is why they sent her to the condemned cell.
"The day of her checkup, she was fasting and the jail authorities too did not give her anything to eat from 6:00am, when she was taken to hospital, to 4:00pm, when my mother met her and gave her some food."
Khadija, whose father is a domestic worker in Kuwait, has been denied bail at least three times by a lower court and once by the High Court.
Much to the relief of her family, she was granted bail by the High Court on February 17 this year.
Their joy, however, was short-lived.
Within a day, the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court stayed her bail order -- leaving the girl in jail again.
According to a forensic laboratory report prepared by the Criminal Investigation Department of police, the main issue was with her guest speaker's responses. However, there were no remarks about Khadija.
The cases accuse Khadija of "trying to cloud the existing political situation", "involve the general public in anti-government activities", and "impact the reputation of Bangladesh in the international world".
Asked why a kidney patient was being kept in solitary confinement, jail superintendent Rahman claimed, "Her health is absolutely fine."