Vol. 5 Num 1052 Fri. May 18, 2007  
Front Page

Shahriar Kabir, 6 others relieved of sedition charges

Criminal Investigation Department (CID) yesterday submitted probe report discharging writer-columnist Shahriar Kabir, two journalists of British Channel 4 television and four others from sedition charges filed against them five years back.

CID Inspector Masud Karim, also the investigation officer (IO) of the case, submitted the final report (FRT) to the court of Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (CMM) yesterday afternoon.

The other six accused in the case are foreign journalists Zaiba Naz Malik (Britain), Leopoldo Bruno Sorrentino (Italy), NGO activist Pricilla Raj, freelance journalist Saleem Samad, Tofael Ahmed and advocate Rana Das Gupta.

In the charge sheet, the IO mentioned that the charges brought against them were not primarily proved and he prayed for discharging them from the charge of sedition.

The court will decide on May 22 whether the final report will be accepted or not, court sources said.

On November 25, 2002, police arrested the two Channel 4 journalists on sedition charges while they were crossing into India from Bangladesh through Benapole border in Jessore.

The two foreign journalists came to Bangladesh to film a current affairs programme for Channel 4 about the reported al-Qaeda presence in Bangladesh. During their arrest at the Benapole border, customs authorities seized films and other documents from them, which were "intended for tarnishing the image of Bangladesh".

Shahriar Kabir, Pricilla Raj, Saleem Samad and others were arrested on charge of assisting the Channel 4 journalists. They were later granted bail from different courts on different dates.

A sedition case was filed with Motijheel Police Station on November 15, 2002 against the two foreign journalists, Pricilla and Saleem.

On December 11, 2002, the government had deported two journalists -- Zaiba Naz Malik and Leopoldo Bruno Sorrentino -- following their undertaking that they would not broadcast any of the material collected from the country.