Azmat Hossain, Senior Opposition Lawyer, Arrested

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Advocate Azmat Hossain, Executive Member of the Dhaka Bar Association and a prominent Lawyer for the opposition, was picked up yesterday by Detective Branch Police. According to Mr. Belal, personal assistant of Advocate Azmat, he was arrested at around 8:00 pm from the Science Lab Circle, Dhaka. His car was blocked by a DB car, and he was taken while returning to his residence from the Judge’s Court.

Azmat spoke with his wife at around 7:30 pm. Afterwards, his wife called him several times with no response. Finally, someone else picked up the phone and informed her that Mr. Azmat is in DB custody.

Later on, Azmat reportedly called some of his professional colleagues and fellow lawyers from his phone asking them to come and meet him at a particular location. However, the colleagues suspecting something untoward did not follow through with the request, seeking to avoid potential sabotage and arrest. Sting operations are not uncommon police practice with opposition activists facing such operations in recent years, and a spike in such measures in recent weeks since opposition protests gained momentum.

Till now, Advocate Azmat is held at the Detective Branch Office at Minto Road. Sources report that he might be produced before court by tomorrow. Family and friends remain concerned for the Azmat’s safety. Sources allege some other prominent Lawyers of the Lower Judiciary are also targeted by the Police, although details could not be immediately verified.

The President and Secretary of the Dhaka Bar Association has strongly protested against the arrest and stated that the Lawyers will boycott the trials and court if he is not released immediately.

Azmat Hossain had been serving as defence lawyer for opposition student group, Chattra Shibir. Over 7,500 opposition activists have been arrested since January following the advent of opposition protests on the first anniversary of the controversial general elections held on January 5 2014.