By Shah Abdul Hannan
A national daily has reported that a Dhaka court yesterday placed Mahmudur Rahman, acting editor of Bangla daily Amar Desh, on three days remand in a case filed for inciting religious fanaticism through his newspaper.
Thirty-five others have been made accused in the case for vandalising and torching vehicles, blasting crude bombs, assaulting police and obstructing their work in front of Matsya Bhaban in the capital. Mahmudur has so far spent over two months in jail and has been remanded twice – first for 13 days and then for three days – since he was arrested on April 10.
Metropolitan Magistrate Harun-ur Rashid passed yesterday’s remand order after Mir Rezaul Islam, sub-inspector of Ramna Police Station and investigation officer of the case, produced him before the court with a remand prayer for 10 days.
Claiming to be innocent, Rahman told the court that police had tortured him inhumanely when he was on remand earlier and that he was now implicated as part of a conspiracy to harass him.
He alleged that he had been confined in the daily’s Karwan Bazar office since December 13 last year. He had been suffering from different illnesses and had not been given proper treatment in custody, he added.
The jail authorities, he went on, did not comply with the court order that had asked them to provide him with proper treatment.
A magistrate has a duty to “scrutinise the matters” submitted by police and then pass a remand order, Mahmudur added.
“I have not appointed any lawyer to defend me,” he noted. “Moreover, I have not submitted any prayer for bail along with the cancellation of the remand.”
Mahmudur was arrested almost four months after he was sued, in line with a High Court directive, for publishing reports on the Skype conversation between former International Crimes Tribunal-1 Chairman Justice Md Nizamul Huq and an expatriate Bangladeshi legal expert, Ahmed Ziauddin, last year.
On April 11, Mahmudur was placed on 13 days’ remand in three cases filed in connection with the publication of the reports and the torching of vehicles hours after he was arrested at his office in the capital.
Leaders of Dhaka Union of Journalists protested the remand order and demanded immediate release of Mahmudur. Otherwise, they warned, the government would have to face dire consequences.
We also feel this fresh remand is unjust. He is not well and is sick. Mahmudur Rahman is a brave man and is suffering for no fault. The cases are all made up as is the rule of police. Court should have also ordered, when it gave the remand, that Supreme Court order should be followed in this regard. This was not done. Political masters of the country are telling stories of development in the Parliament when liberty of people has come down to zero. No development is praise worthy when all human rights are trampled under feet.