Vol. 5 Num 70 Thu. August 05, 2004  
Front Page

Teenage girl detained for 1yr sans trial

A 14-year-old girl held under Section 54 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) has been detained in jail without trial for more than one year.

Police arrested Shama Nishat on July 20 last year in the house of her foster mother, Rahatunnesa, on Road 6/A, Dhanmondi, Dhaka, after Rahat had filed a general diary with Dhanmondi Police Station accusing Nishat of trying to kill her with a boti (kitchen machete).

The next day police produced Nishat before a court that put her in jail custody.

The law dictates that if the investigation officer (IO) does not press specific charge against one arrested under Section 54, the arrestee has to be set free.

But, the teenage girl is still languishing in prison, although the IO of the case, Police Sub-inspector Abdul Mannan Munshi, has not submitted any charge-sheet despite repeated instructions of the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate's Court of Dhaka to do so.

The court also summoned Rahat several times to appear before it, but she did not.

Advocate Mahmuda Khatun of Jatiya Mahila Ainjibi Samiti (National Women Lawyers' Association) said they would appeal to court today to take Shama in their custody.

A senior lawyer said confining anyone in jail without trial for as long as 12 months is a gross violation of human and fundamental rights.

Meanwhile, the High Court Tuesday asked the government to free on bail the thousands of detainees in jails without trial, violating their constitutional right to prompt justice.