August 12, 2013
A Dhaka court on Sunday granted police five days’ remand to interrogate detained Odhikar secretary Adilurur Rahman Khan and also allowed them to conduct search at his home and office.
Judge of the Metropolitan magistrate’s court, Amit Kumar Dey, passed the order after police produced Adilurur before the court after arresting him under Section 54 on Saturday night and
sought a 10-day remand to explore ‘plots against the state and government’.
Detective branch police inspector Ashraful Islam sought the remand claiming that Adilur’s organisation Odhikar had been propagating imaginary information through its website preparing a fabricated list of 61 people who were reportedly killed in police action to flush out gathering of Hefajat-e-Islam at Motijheel in the early hours of May 6 but the reality was no incident of death took place in that police action.
‘It had tarnished the image of the law enforcement agencies and the state and left adverse impact on religious Muslims leading to deterioration of law and order. Such motivated acts are criminal offence as per Section 57(1) and 57(2) of Information and Communications Technology Act,’ said Ashraf.
The court also rejected a bail prayer by Adilur’s counsel, Supreme Court Bar Association president AJ Mohammad Ali.
Ali said Adilur was not arrested in any case, so his remand prayer should be rejected and he should be released on bail.
Citing a the High Court directive that nobody arrested under Section 54 should be put on remand, Ali said such type of remand would violate Articles 34 and 35 of the constitution of the republic.
In reply, the court ordered that police would have to interrogate Adilur abiding by the High Court directive.
Odhikar director Nasiruddin Elan said Adilur was brought to CMM Court at around 1:40pm and police did not allow his family, even counsels, to talk to him.
Various local and international rights watchdogs and socio-political organisations have condemned the arrest of Adilur and putting him on remand.
Adilur was arrested at 10.30pm on Saturday night from his Gulshan house by the detective branch of Police ‘for fabricating facts about atrocities committed by state forces’, confirmed DB police.
A team of eight or nine members of the detective branch of police picked him up when he was returning home with his family. The DB people came riding a white microbus apparently belonging to United Commercial Bank and a blue and silver coloured Mitsubishi Pajero SUV.
As Adilur’s car entered his home and he got out, eight or nine men claiming to be from the DB surrounded him and requested him to come with them, said Elan.
The deputy commissioner of the Detective Branch of Police, Masudur Rahman, said, ‘He has distorted facts about Hefazat-e-Islam and distorted photographs using Photoshop.’
Odhikar has been critical about human rights abuses by law enforcement agencies in Bangladesh that include extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and torture.
Between January and June 2013, according to information gathered by Odhikar, some 184 persons were killed by Bangladeshi security forces overriding the judicial procedure. This means that an average of 30 people died in extrajudicial killings every month.
The information ministry on July 10 had asked Odhikar to submit its full report containing the names and addresses of all the 61 Hefajat activists, who the report said had been killed in the police action.
Odhikar, concerned about the security of the victims’ families, on July 17 replied that it was willing to disclose the information only to an independent and impartial commission that it requested the government to constitute.
The prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, in her budget speech on June 29, also accused Odhikar of waging information terrorism by fabricating information along with daily Amar Desh.
The minister for home affairs, Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir, meanwhile, claimed that Adilur was arrested on specific charges. ‘Investigation is on against him and legal actions will be taken afterwards,’ said the minister at his office at Bangladesh Secretariat.
Asked about the government’s step if other rights groups become vocal against Adilur’s arrest, Alamgir said, ‘Infringing other’s rights in the name of human rights is a crime. Such acts are not even acceptable in the countries which are very vocal for human rights. I do not think anybody will be vocal against the arrest.’
Pointing to Odhikar’s claim of death of 61 people in Motijheel police action on April 5, Alamgir said, ‘Tarnishing the country’s image in the name of human rights is also a crime.’
The chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, Mizanur Rahman, expressed his concern over the arrest and putting him on police remand.
‘It is not acceptable that human rights activists would be victim of harassment in carrying out duties. Arresting anyone without specific charge is also not acceptable,’ he said.
Senior leaders of Bangladesh Nationalist Party and other opposition political parties have condemned Adilur’s arrest by the police.
Meanwhile, a team of detective branch police led by senior assistant commissioner M Obaidul Haque conducted a search at Odhikar’s office in Gulshan on Sunday night.
The police conducted an hour-long search and seized three laptop computers and two CPUs of desktop computer.
Obaidul told reporters that they had conducted the raid in search of evidence and seized the computers suspecting that they might have been used in spreading ‘fabricated information’ in electronic format.
Adilurur’s wife Saira Rahman Khan and Odhikar staff Rafiqul Islam were present during the search.
Rafiqul told New Age that the DB police during the search had looked for something on Rohingya issue.
Source: New Age BD
Feature image from BBC