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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: 248
July 29, 2006

This week's issue:
Human Rights Analysis
Law Opinion
Law Letter
Law Event
Human Rights Monitor
Court Corridor
Law Week

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Law Week

'Special security' for JMB kingpins under question
Questions arose as the government has kept Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) kingpins Abdur Rahman and Siddiqul Islam Banglabhai in a sub-jail in Mirpur instead of secured cells of a prison. The Prisons Directorate and the government claimed that the two top militant leaders have been kept in a house in a residential area "isolated from people" to ensure "special security". But the "security" aspect of the arrangement gets pale when considered the fact that "top-of-the-list" convicts such as the killers of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman are kept at the Dhaka Central Jail. Though the jail authorities claimed the two JMB kingpins have been kept there under prisons rules, sources said the rules are being violated by serving them food that comes from outside. According to the jail code, food for prisoners should be supplied by the jail authorities and there should be a diet menu and a diet resister, which are not being maintained in this case. Besides, all foods served to condemned prisoners are tested and approved by a jail doctor before serving. But there is no doctor on duty in this sub-jail. Contrary to the authorities' claim that the JMB leaders have been kept in an isolated area, civilians are seen wandering around the one-storey house [sub-jail] adjacent to two two-storey buildings for government officials at Paikpara in Mirpur. The Prisons Directorate admitted that the three buildings have one common entrance and the residents of these two buildings use that gate. Prisoners in other countries are also kept in sub-jails instead of prisons, State Minister for Home Affairs Lutfozzaman Babar said in defence of the fact. -- The Daily Star, July 24.

Prisons break rule to collect fund from visitors
Prison authorities at each jail are collecting money from visitors for a newly constituted "common fund" despite a strong prohibition in this regard from the home ministry and the previous prisons administration. There are allegations that money from the prisons' earnings from different other sources also goes to this fund. Former inspector general (IG) (prisons) Brigadier General Zillur Rahman issued orders on November 11, 2003 strictly prohibiting collection of money from visitors, saying it tarnishes the image of the Prisons Directorate. To stop harassment to visitors, he ordered to stop collecting Tk 2 for the fund of the prison mosques. "The prisons authorities will not collect any money from the visitors in any circumstance," according to the order. Earlier on October 26, 1990, the then IG Prisons Abdul Matin issued orders to stop collecting money from visitors in the name of contribution for the prison-run schools and mosques or any other purpose, terming it illegal. He warned prison officials and employees that legal steps would be initiated against them if evidence is found for their involvement in any such illegal activities. The home ministry also prohibited collection of money from the visitors. --The Daily Star, July 25.

Judiciary Separation
SC asks for details on govt anomalies
The Supreme Court (SC) asked the intervener of the judiciary separation case to submit the comparative chart of the anomalies that the government committed in implementing the 12-point directives of the court. Attorney General (AG) AJ Mohammad Ali submitted a progress report before the court regarding the implementation of the judiciary separation. The AG also submitted Bangladesh Judicial Service (Constitution, Recruitment in the Entry Point, Temporary Suspension, Dismissal and Removal) Rules 2006 and the Bangladesh Judicial Service (Posting, Promotion, Leave Grant, Control, Discipline and other Service Conditions) Rules 2006 that the government published on June 12 through a gazette notification as part of the judiciary separation. After the AG's submission, barrister Amir Ul Islam, the intervener of the case, told the court that the government did not maintain 12-point SC directives for the implementation of the separation of judiciary. --The Daily Star, July 25.

Karnaphuli Bridge
Govt asked to suspend all activities
Following the filing of a public interest litigation writ, the High Court (HC) ordered the government to suspend all activities on the pier-based third Karnaphuli bridge for seven days. The seven days suspension order was given as the government sought time to respond to the petition seeking a stay order on the construction of the pier-based Karnaphuli bridge. The petition also asked the court to order the authorities concerned to build a suspension bridge as per the recommendation of experts of the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET). Supreme Court (SC) advocate Imtiaz Uddin Ahmed Asif filed the petition On July 20, Syed Ishtiaq Ahmed and Associates served a legal notice in this connection to the ministries of communications, shipping, and environment and the chief engineer of Roads and Highways Department, the project director of the third Karnaphuli bridge project and China Major Bridge Company. But the authorities concerned did not respond to the notice. --Prothom Alo, July 25.

Rape of 5yr-Old
Flawed probe denies Tania of justice
A Dhaka court while handing down the verdict in the sensational Tania rape case described the investigation as flawed and inadequate in sentencing the lone accused Obaidur Rahman Mora who is in custody for over eight years. Judge Nurunnahar of the Third Special Tribunal for Prevention of Women and Children Repression acquitted Mora, as the charge brought against him was not proved. Hailing from Nagarkanda of Faridpur Mora, 25, used to spend his days on the court premises selling fruits and other things. Later he was arrested in connection with his involvement in raping Tania. The tribunal directed the inspector general of police (IGP) to take departmental action against the investigation officer (IO) of the case for his negligence and reluctance to investigate the case. Five-year-old Tania was raped inside the police control room adjacent to the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate's Court, Dhaka around 3:00pm on March 10, 1998. After the judgement, Mora broke down in tears and asked The Daily Star who would give back the eight years of his life in jail custody. Moreover, his wife Aleya Begum and eight-year-old daughter Momena have been passing deplorable life in his absence, Mora said. --The Daily Star, July 26.

Illegal VoIP business hits BTTB earning
Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Board (BTTB) revenues have plummeted by Tk 100 crore in a year hitting a record five-year low due mainly to illegal business of Internet telephony. The setback for the state-run telecom operator came at a time when overseas phone calls, once the prime source of its earnings, are growing by 10 to 15 percent a year and incoming calls from different countries rise by 20 percent annually. "Given that the market is booming, our business growth should have doubled in last five years, but instead our income is coming down every year due to illegal VoIP business," said a top BTTB official. Internet telephony or Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), which is now widely used in the country, drains out nearly Tk 100 crore of the BTTB's business a month. The number of illegal VoIP operations across the country has reached several thousand, according to market operators. --The Daily Star, July 26.

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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