Vol. 5 Num 156 Thu. October 28, 2004  
Front Page

Mass Arrest
HC asks govt to submit by Nov 3 list of arrestees

The High Court (HC) yesterday ordered the government to submit by November 23 a list of those arrested between September 22 and October 3 under Section 86 of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) Ordinance.

A HC Division bench comprising Justice MA Matin and Justice ASM Abdur Rahman delivered the ruling on a supplementary affidavit on a petition filed by a number of rights groups on September 29 protesting what they said were indiscriminate arrests under the section.

Law enforcers drew heavily on the section to carry out the blanket arrests launched on September 22 apparently to quell the opposition uprising, fomenting over the August 21 grenade attacks on an Awami League rally and, in particular, to foil its grand rally in the capital on October 3.

On September 29, acting on the petition of the rights activists, another HC bench had issued an injunction against such indiscriminate mass arrests of opposition adherents and apolitical people alike under the section.

The bench will hear the case in full on November 24.

During the submission of the supplementary affidavit yesterday, the government side opposed the petitioners' appeal for a list of arrestees, saying it had already provided such a list. The defence was referring to a list of people incarcerated under the same section of the DMP Ordinance during the mass arrest in April that it submitted to the court in July.

Moving on behalf of the petitioners Dr M Zahir argued if the list is not provided, the people arrested would be unaccounted for. He said the list is a must to know the condition of the arrestees and secure justice for them, specially the poor victims.

Barrister Sara Hossain and Barrister Tanzir Ahmed assisted Dr Zahir, while Additional Attorney General AJ Mohammad Ali and Assistant Attorney General Adilur Rahman Shuvro represented the government side.

Sultana Kamal, executive director of Ain O Shalish Kendra, a legal aid and rights organisation, lodged the supplementary affidavit on behalf of the petitioners.

Leading organisations of the petitioning groups include the HRLAC of Bangladesh Bar Council, Ain O Salish Kendra, Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust, Bangladesh National Lawyers' Association, Centre for Develop-ment Studies, Hotline Bangladesh, Kormojibi Nari, Odhikar, Sho-mmilito Nari Somaj, Sommilito Samajik Andolan and Samajtantrik Mohila Front.