A Dhaka court yesterday granted bail to Faria Mahjabin, owner of Nerdy Bean Coffee Haus in Dhanmondi, in a case filed under the ICT Act over “spreading rumours and sharing provocative posts” on social media regarding the recent students' protest.
Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Md Aminul Haque passed the order after her lawyer, Jyotirmoy Barua, submitted a petition seeking bail.
During the hearing, Jyotirmoy told the court that his client has been languishing in jail since August 17.
Several others arrested on the same charges in other cases were granted bail. So, considering her social status, she too should be granted bail, her lawyer argued.
On the other hand, the prosecution opposed the bail petition saying that on August 20 Faria made an admission of guilt, which is why her bail should be rejected. She was later granted the bail.
On August 16, Rapid Action Battalion arrested Faria from her home in the capital's Hazaribagh area at 4:45pm. She was placed on a three-day remand. On August 20, she confessed to a magistrate that the charges against her were true. She was then sent to jail.
According to the prosecution, Faria, while expressing solidarity with the student movement, shared some “provocative and false contents on Facebook to divert the demonstration towards a different direction and to deteriorate law and order.”
Meanwhile, another Dhaka court rejected Md Waliullah's bail petition in a case filed under the ICT Act with Shahbagh police.
Metropolitan Magistrate Subrata Ghosh Shubho passed the order. Waliullah's lawyer, Zakir Hossain, submitted the petition.
Waliullah was arrested on August 8 “over spreading rumours on social media” about the recent students' protest.
In the same case, Lutfun Nahar Luma, a joint convener of quota reform movement's central committee and also a student of Eden Girls' College, and three others got bail earlier.
On August 21, Actor Quazi Nawshaba Ahmed, who was held over “spreading rumours on social media”, walked out of jail on bail.
However, eminent photographer Shahidul Alam, who has recently been denied bail in a similar case, is still behind bars.
Since the students' protest for road safety began on July 29 following the deaths of two students in a city road crash, more than 100 people, mostly students of private universities and colleges, were rounded up in 53 cases in the capital alone over vandalism, attacks on law enforcers and spreading rumours on social media, according to Dhaka Metropolitan Police.
Just before Eid, 83 students were granted bail on August 19-20.
Earlier in February, students of different public universities and jobseekers, under the banner of “Bangladesh Sadharan Chhatra Adhikar Sangrakkhan Parishad”, initiated the quota reform movement demanding a reformation of the quota system in government jobs.
Eight leaders of the movement, who were arrested in July over vandalism, and assaulting and preventing police from discharging their duties during the movement in April, among others, have recently gotten bail.
Ever since the quota reformists started fresh programmes to press home their five-point demand on June 30, they have either been attacked by alleged Chhatra League men or have been arrested.
In their latest move, the quota reformists, on August 12, threatened the government with tougher agitations beginning from August 31 if a gazette regarding the quota reforms was not published by then.