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December 7, 2003 

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Free legal aid for Bangladeshis
Two non-government organisations of Bangladesh and India have signed a five-year memorandum of understanding (MOU) to provide legal aid for Indian citizens in Bangladesh and Bangladeshi citizens in India free of cost. Under the agreement, the Bangladeshi NGO will provide legal aid for Indian citizens while the Indian organisation will offer the same to Bangladeshi citizens. The MOU was signed by Bangladesh Legal Aid Services Trust (BLAST) and Legal Aid Services in West Bengal (LASWEB) of India. Vice-president of BLAST Justice Naimuddin Ahmed and chairman of LASWEB Justice DK Basu signed the MOU, said a press release. The legal aid will also cover, if needed, cheaper travel expenses to the citizens up to crossing the border, subject to necessary government permission. -Prothom Alo, 4 December.

Bosnian Serb
UN war crimes judges sentenced a former Bosnian Serb army commander to 27 years' imprisonment yesterday for his role in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre of up to 8,000 Muslims -- a stiffer sentence than even prosecutors requested. Momir Nikolic, 48, pleaded guilty in May to one count of crimes against humanity for persecuting non-Serbs in Europe's worst atrocity since World War II. In return for his plea, prosecutors dropped four other charges. Nikolic was an assistant intelligence commander in the Bratunac Brigade that encircled the U.N.-declared "safe area" of Srebrenica in eastern Bosnia.
Under the plea deal, prosecutors agreed to request a 15- to -20-year sentence and the defense said it would recommend 10 years. Judge Liu Daqun said neither term was sufficient. "Neither sentence adequately reflects the totality of the criminal conduct for which Momir Nikolic has been convicted," the judge told the court, saying the Srebrenica massacre was "committed with a level of brutality and depravity not seen previously in the conflict in former Yugoslavia." -Daily Star, 03 December.

Political clashes claim 49 in November
Political violence claimed 49 people, injuring 473 others throughout the country in November. This was revealed by a report prepared by Odhikar, a human rights organisation on the basis of news items published in different dailies. In connection with politics-related violence, 228 people were arrested during the period. A total of 137 children fell victims to repression. Of whom, 39 were murdered, 29 rapped, 13 abducted, three acid-burnt, five trafficked away, 16 missing and eight committed suicide, the report revealed. During the same period across the country, 78 women and children were rapped, including 24 minor girls, aging from three to 15 years. Among newsmen, three were injured by miscreants, one manhandled, 14 threatened, two implicated with criminal cases while the law enforcers arrested a photojournalist in Rajshahi upon the direction of a mobile court magistrate. Some 34 women and children became victims of dowry. 28 of them, including two children, were killed, five others assaulted and one acid-burnt. Acid was thrown on 15 women and four men during the period in incidents, related to land-disputes, previous enmity and refusal of illegal proposals. A total of seven prisoners, six of them under trial, died in the jail custody. Only one of them died due to injuries in chest while the rest for illness. In the Chittagong hill tracks, six people were killed, two others injured and 11 abducted in the month of November. -New Age, 01 December.

Delhi HC to expel 'illegal Bangladeshis'
A New Delhi court has ordered to speed up the deportation of Bangladeshis who live illegally in the Indian capital. The court was ruling on a petition by a New Delhi-based lawyer who claimed that 2.8 million Bangladeshis lived illegally in the city, taking government benefits meant for "real" Indian citizens. The petition said some illegal immigrants had been given voter cards and could impact elections. The bench of Chief Justice BC Patel and Justice AK Sikri said the city was initiating 300 to 400 deportation cases against Bangladeshis a month, down from the 100 a day that was the target in a plan presented to the court in September. Indian Deputy Prime Minister Lal Krishna Advani in January announced a drive to deport three million Bangladeshis he said were in the country illegally and could pose a security threat. -Law Desk.

Special PP appointed for Jail Killing Case
The government has appointed Advocate Anisul Huq as seecial Public Prosecutor (PP) to conduct the trial of the Jail Killing Case. The govt. has also appointed three other Special PP for assisting him. They are Advocate Shahara Khatun, Mosharaf Hossain Kajol and Kamrul Islam. Earlier in December last year the government cancelled appointment of the Special PP's after the death of advocate Sirajul Huq, head special PP of the case.
Law Minister Moudud Ahmed told that the government appointed the SPPs on the basis of a request from Deputy Opposition Leader Abdul Hamid. On 3November, 1975, four national leaders -- Tajuddin Ahmed, Syed Nazrul Islam, M Kamruzzaman and M Monsur Ali, all put behind bars by the then Mustaq government -- were killed inside the Dhaka Central Jail by a group of disgruntled army officers. A case was filed with Lalbag Police Station the same day. But no action could have been taken until repeal of the Indemnity Ordinance in 1996 by former Awami League government. The case is now pending with the Dhaka Metropolitan Sessions Judge's. -Prothom Alo, 4 December.

Paparazzis acquitted
Three photographers who took pictures of Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed on the day they died were acquitted on Friday, 28 November of invading their privacy. The three men, whose photographs were confiscated and not published, were among a swarm of photographers who either pursued the car carrying Diana and her boyfriend across Paris on 31 August 1997 or took photos after it crashed into the pillar of a traffic tunnel. Jacques Langevin, with Sygma/Corbis at the time, Christian Martinez of the Angeli agency, and free-lancer Fabrice Chassery had risked a maximum of one year in prison and $53,000 fines. The prosecutor had asked for suspended prison sentences.
But the Paris court ruled that a crashed vehicle on a public highway is not a private area. The court also said Diana and Dodi Fayed knew they would be photographed when leaving Paris' Ritz Hotel by car. -Daily Star, 30 November.

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