Six more cases were filed against The Daily Star Editor Mahfuz Anam in six districts today raising the total number of lawsuits to 75 against the Star editor in as many as 50 out of 65 districts since February 9.
Of the cases, 17 involve pleas for bringing sedition charges against him, while the rest are defamation suits.
The case spree began days after the Star editor at a talk show on February 3 made an introspective comment about a lapse in his editorial judgement in publishing a few reports, based on information given by the Task Force Interrogation Cell during the 2007-08 tenure of the last caretaker government, without being able to verify those independently.
Meanwhile, judicial magistrate of Magura showed an exceptional example today by not taking a defamation case into cognisance.
When Sohrab Hossain Sabuj, joint secretary of district unit Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) went to file a defamation case against The Daily Star editor, Judicial Magistrate Imtiazul Islam heard from the plaintiff, but he did not take the case into cognisance.
He fixed next hearing on March 8 to decide the fate of the case.
Rashed Mahbub, the attorney of plaintiff, said his client wanted to file a defamation claim of Tk 50 thousand crore against the editor of The Daily Star as the newspaper has allegedly published a “report against Sheikh Hasina.”
During the caretaker government regime in 2007-08 The Daily Star ran 11 such reports – seven involving BNP chief Khaleda Zia, three involving Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and one involving a businessman.
The reports were based on the statements of top Awami League and BNP leaders and businesspersons, who were interrogated by the TFIC.
Numerous cases were filed against senior politicians, including Hasina and Khaleda, based on those statements. Khaleda and other BNP leaders still face many of those cases, but the cases against Hasina and other AL leaders were withdrawn on recommendation of a home ministry committee after the AL took office in 2009.
Presently, the cases being filed against Mahfuz Anam allege that the reports run by this newspaper led to the arrest of AL chief Sheikh Hasina, thus defaming her.
Abdur Rezzak alias Suman, president Nangolkot upazila BCL unit filed another defamation case against Anam seeking six months imprisonment in the court of senior judicial magistrate Razia Sultana.
With this case, the total number of cases against the Daily Star editor on the same issue reached to five in last four days. The court took the case in cognisance and asked the district information officer to submit a report on March 24.
A Mymensingh court issued a summon to appear Mahfuz Anam, The Daily Star Editor and Publisher before the court on March 27 in a defamation suit filed against him yesterday afternoon.
Md Altaf Hossain Rana, a freedom fighter and president of Bangabandhu Sangskritik Jote Gafargoan upazila unit of Mymensingh filed the defamation suit of Tk. 10 crore with the cognisance court no-7, court sources said.
Senior Judicial Magistrate SM Razibul Hasan took the case into cognisance and summoned The Daily Star Editor to appear before the court on March 27, informed Nowjesh Ali Miah, the court inspector.
With this, the number of cases in Mymenshingh reached to four as three cases were filed there last Wednesday.
A case charging sedition and defamation was filed against the Daily Star Editor and Publisher Mahfuz Anam with the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate Court in Narail yesterday.
Wahedur Rahman, the president of Dighalia union Awami League under Lohagarah thana filed a sedition charge and and a Tk 100 crore defamation suit yesterday in the cognisance court, Narail.
The case was filed in the cognisance court of judicial magistrate Md Harun or Rashid. The court asked police to submit a report regarding it on March 16.
Though most of the cases against the editor of Daily Star was filed by ruling party leaders and activists, yesterday wife of a AL leader filed the case in Lalmonirhat being advised by her husband.
A woman Syeda Shilpi Begum,28, wife of Syed Belal Hasan residence at Jummapara in Lalmonirhat town acclaiming herself as AL activist lodged the case with the additional chief judicial magistrate court in Lalmonirhat.
The case was lodged under the section 123 (A), 124 (A) and 501/505 (D), case reference said.
In an interview she told the journalists she was advised and supported by her husband filing the case against the Daily Star editor. Her husband Syed Belal Hasan was personal secretary PS to late AL leader Andul Jalil, and now he works as an activist of ruling AL in the capital Dhaka, claimed by case plaintiff Syeda Shilpi Begum.
The Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate Mehedi Hasan Mandal ordered the OC of Lalmonirhat sadar Police Station to investigate the matter taking permission from government.
It is the second case in Lalmonirhat as another case charging sedition and defamation of Tk 100 crore was filed on Tuesday.
Advocate Siddiqur Rahman Sing, treasure of district AL filed a Tk 10 crore defamation suit with Madaripur chief judicial magistrate court under section 500 and 501 against the editor of The Daily Star yesterday.
Chief judicial magistrate Zakir Hossain took the case in the cognisance and issued a summon to appear before the court within March 6, the day of next hearing of the case. Plaintiff Siddiqur Rahman Sing is also the vice president of district lawyer’s association.
Bijay Krishna Mallik, vice president of Shechha Sebak league district unit yesterday filed a defamation suit of Tk 10 crore under section 500 and 501 with the court of Sharif Uddin Ahmed, the senior judicial magistrate.
The court asked officials to investigate the matter and file a report on March 30.