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“All Citizens are Equal before Law and are Entitled to Equal Protection of Law”-Article 27 of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh

Issue No: 233
April 8, 2006

This week's issue:
Human Rights Advocacy
Law Opinion
ICC Campaign
Law Alter View
Human Rights Monitor
Rights Corner
Law Week

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Law Week

Judiciary Separation SC issues contempt rule on 4 secretaries
The Supreme Court issued a contempt rule against four secretaries including the principal secretary to the prime minister for not complying with its 12-point directive on separation of the judiciary from the executive. The full bench of the Appellate Division headed by Chief Justice Syed JR Mudassir Husain also asked the four top bureaucrats to explain within three weeks why contempt proceedings should not be brought against them. The bureaucrats issued with the contempt rule are Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister Kamal Uddin Siddiqui, Law Secretary Alauddin Sarder, Establishment Secretary Mahbubur Rahman and Finance Secretary Siddiqur Rahman. The court ruling came in response to an updated contempt petition filed by Barrister M Amir-Ul Islam on behalf of Chowdhury Munir Uddin Mahfuz, judge of the Tribunal for Prevention of Women and Children Repression, Kishoreganj on February 22. Amir is also an intervener in the judiciary separation case filed among others by Munir.
In the original petition filed on April 13, 2004, Amir accused three secretaries of contempt for violating the Supreme Court's 12-point directive. Updating the petition, he brought the same charge against seven other bureaucrats. Dr Kamal Hossain, who has been moving the case as an intervener, told reporters that it is the constitutional responsibility of the highest court to ensure its orders are executed and to take action against those defying or ignoring the directives. "As the apex court of the country, the Supreme Court has a constitutional responsibility to protect its supremacy, dignity and image, and the court has done so," he said, referring to the constitutional mandate for everyone to comply with the Supreme Court orders. -The Daily Star, April 4.

5 Bangladeshi companies smuggled heroin to UK
An investigation report by the National Board of Revenue (NBR) found that five Bangladeshi business institutions are involved in smuggling heroin to the United Kingdom in the guise of exporting foods, toiletries, cosmetics and tiles. The Customs Intelligence and Investigation Department (CIID) also conducted an investigation through a high-powered committee following allegations made by the UK customs in May 2005. A media report about UK customs' allegations was first published in The Daily Star on July 12, 2005 titled 'UK customs detect smuggling of 75kg heroin from Dhaka. Drug reached London in guise of tiles, cosmetics, food'.
The NBR prepared its report two months ago and submitted to the home ministry, said an NBR source. A sources in Criminal Investigation Department (CID) said CID, Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) and Special Branch (SB) of the police are investigating the smuggling ring. A meeting was held in this connection at the home ministry a few days ago, sources said. The investigation report found that a leading private company, BD Foods Limited, and its sister concerns manipulated the entire export process, starting from getting a trade license to shipment of consignments to the UK ports. -The Daily Star, April 4.

Criminal Case
Amini asked to appear in court
A Dhaka court directed Maulana Fazlul Haque Amini MP, chairman of a faction of Islami Oikya Jote (IOJ) and an accused in a criminal case, to appear before the court on May 2. Metropolitan Magistrate Mohammad Shafique Anwar directed Proshika President Qazi Faruque Ahmed, complainant of the case, also to appear before the court on that day as it will close cross-examination of witnesses. Earlier, the court had recorded statements of seven witnesses since the charges were framed against Amini on January 11, 2001. Amini at a meeting in Brahmanbaria on April 19, 2000 had said Faruque and other staffs of Proshika would be killed on that very night.
The Daily Bhorer Kagoj ran the news on April 20. Later, the news was published in other newspapers but Amini did not contradict the news. Faruque filed the case with the court of Chief Metropolitan Magistrate against Amini on May 14, 2000. Following the hearing, the court issued summons against the accused to appear before it but Amini failed to appear before the court. -The Daily Star, April 5.

71 killed by law enforcers in last 3 months
A total of 71 people were killed, of them 56 in 'crossfire,' by the law enforcers in the last three months, says a report by Odhikar, a human rights organisation. Of them, 37 people were killed by police, 32 by the Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) and one each by Detective Branch (DB) and forest guards. Besides, five died in police custody and 14 in the jail custody. Quoting reports of 12 newspapers and its own research unit, the rights watchdog said 63 were killed, 3696 were injured and 183 were arrested in rights violation incidents during January-March, 2006.
Besides, police arrested 10,000 opposition leaders, activists and supporters and pedestrians in Dhaka and elsewhere in the country on the occasion of 14-party long march towards Dhaka on February 5. Meantime, one was killed, 96 injured, 19 arrested, one abducted and three went missing in rights violation incidents in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, the report said. In three months, 27 journalists were injured, six were harassed, four were attacked, 22 received death threats, one was arrested and cases were filed against 17. -The Daily star, April 5.

Sedition case hearing May 7
A Dhaka court fixed May 7 for hearing on charge framing of the first sedition case against eight Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) leaders and activists. Judge Mohammad Golam Hossain of the Additional District Judge and Bankruptcy Court set the hearing date after scrutinising the case docket. The accused are Mohammad Rafiqul Islam alias Sentu, 22, Mohammad Wahab, 26, Yaqub Ali, 21, Anwar Hossain, 23, Faruq Hossain alias Kosai Faruq, 25, Mohammad Wahiduzzaman alias Pintu, 20, Abdus Salam, 22, and Nurul Islam, 23. Of them, Sentu is now in custody while the others are still at large. Sub-Inspector Iqbal Hossain, also the Investigation Officer (IO) of the case, submitted the charge sheet on December 27 last year against the accused to a first class magistrate's court in the city, showing 25 people as prosecution witnesses. -The Daily Star, April 6.

'Misuse' of MPs' Duty-free Car Privilege
ACC to probe, NBR says 'no' fearing fallout
The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) will investigate the allegation against lawmakers of misusing the privilege of importing duty-free cars while National Board of Revenue (NBR) will not go for any such action, fearing potential fallout. The lawmakers of the current parliament brought in 275 luxury cars like BMW, Cadillac, Porsche from abroad, have made at least Tk 50 crore during this parliament from abroad, costing the NBR over Tk 280 crore in tax. Most of them sold the cars to businessmen for Tk 10 lakh to 25 lakh a car.
ACC Chairman expressed his concern about the misusing of lawmakers' privilege. Whether a lawmaker can sell the vehicle he has imported being exempted from taxation will also be examined. However, NBR, which in line with a government decision waives import duties in case of a legislator bringing in a car from abroad, remains silent over the allegation as the matter is very sensitive as the politicians are involved in it. Foreign Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) at a meeting with NBR on Wednesday called for a probe into the allegation against lawmakers selling cars to businessmen. According to a circular issued during Ershad rule, a lawmaker is entitled to import a duty-free car for his or her use during the tenure of a parliament. -The Daily Star, April 7.


Corresponding with the Law Desk
Please send your mails, queries, and opinions to: Law Desk, The Daily Star 19 Karwan Bazar, Dhaka-1215; telephone 8124944,8124955,fax 8125155;email <dslawdesk@yahoo.co.uk,lawdesk@thedailystar.net


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