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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: 24
June 16, 2007

This week's issue:
Human Rights Advocacy
Human Rights Advocacy
Fact File
Law in-depth
Human Rights Monitor
Rights Corner
Law Week

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Law week

IGP talks tough against corrupt policemen
Inspector General of Police (IGP) Noor Mohammad sought cooperation from the people in developing good policing and urged them to be watchful of police activities. "Protest instantly or inform us if you see any policeman doing anything wrong or unfair... Speak up loud against anything bad they do... Today's problem was created due to keeping mum over the years," he said while addressing a meeting with civil society members at Rajshahi deputy inspector general's conference room. "A corrupt policeman, whatever position he may hold, will lose his job and land in jail and such elements cannot save themselves from the punishment by lobbying," the IGP said. "We want to get rid of the 100-year-old colonial image, change the existing concept of policing and it is not possible without close cooperation of people," he said, adding, "We cannot bring any revolutionary change, we can keep the process of turning police into a symbol of reliability and trust going on." At Rajshahi Police Lines, the IGP asked policemen to change their behaviour and be friendly towards people. "We will show zero tolerance for misbehaviour and corruption," he warned. -The Daily Star, June 11.

EC moves to stop foreign funding
The Election Commission (EC) has made a move to impose a ban on receiving funds from foreign sources to run political parties or their election campaigns. "No political party shall receive any donation or funding from any foreign country or organisation or a person who is not of Bangladesh origin," the EC said in its draft proposal. The proposal was recently drafted as part of its ongoing initiative for electoral reforms to ensure financial transparency in the activities of political parties. Major political parties including Awami League, BNP, Jatiya Party and Jamaat-e-Islami have reportedly been collecting funds from foreign sources for a long time particularly to run their election campaigns. A number of AL and BNP leaders detained on charge of corruption have allegedly admitted to taking money from foreign sources to run their party's election campaigns. Former state minister for home affairs Lutfozzaman Babar, during quizzing by the Task Force for Interrogation (TFI), divulged to the interrogators that BNP chairperson and immediate past prime minister Khaleda Zia collected Tk 300 crore for election funding from the governments of Pakistan, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia before the stalled ninth parliamentary elections. Once the EC's proposal is made a law, none of the political parties will be allowed to collect funds from foreign sources and registration of a political party will be cancelled if it violates the law. -The Daily Star, June 12.

CA warns against illegal hill cutting
Chief Adviser (CA) Fakhruddin Ahmed sounded a strong warning against illegal hill cutting in the port city and said persons involved in such an act would be punished. He gave the warning while talking to reporters in the landslide-hit Kacharigona area, adjacent to Chittagong Cantonment. The CA said the army will remain alert and remove people from vulnerable areas to safer places. He also assured the people of resolving the water-logging problem in the port city. "Our first task is to rescue, treat and help rehabilitate the affected people," said the head of the caretaker government. Earlier, after disembarking from the plane at Shah Amanat Airport, the chief adviser drove straight to Lebu Bagan in Hathazari where Chittagong GOC Major General Sina Ibne Jamali briefed him about the aftermath of Monday's landslides that killed more than 100 people. Communications Adviser Major General (retd) MA Matin, Chittagong Divisional Commissioner Mokhlesur Rahman and senior civil and military officials were present. -Unb, Dhaka, June 13.

Khaleda, Tarique, 12 others sued for non-submission of service return
Immediate past prime minister Khaleda Zia, her elder son Tarique Rahman and 12 other BNP leaders, who were directors of Daily Dinkal Limited, were sued for not submitting service return of the daily for the last several years. Abdul Mannan, deputy registrar (current charge) of the Joint Stock Companies, filed the case under section 36(5) of the Companies Act 1994 with the Court of Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Dhaka. According to UNB, the other accused in the case are Tarique's business partner Giasuddin Al Mamun, Sheikh Razzak Ali, Barrister Abdus Salam Talukder (already died), Barrister Nazmul Huda, Major (retd) MA Mannan, Manjurul Ahsan Munshi, Fazlul Azim, Nurul Amin Talukder (already died), Ali Asgar Lobi, Rokonuddin Molla and AKM Mosharraf Hossain. Metropolitan Magistrate Abdullahhil Baki accepted the case and summoned all of them to appear before the court on July 16 in person. -The Daily Star, June 13.

Butenis unhappy with ban on political activities
Outgoing US Ambassador Patricia Butenis has said she is disappointed at the ban on political activities in Bangladesh, which she feels, does not apply to 'behind-the-scenes' activity to promote a new political party. In one of her last public appearances, she also said her biggest regret during her 14-month stay as the US envoy was the failure to hold the January 22 elections, as she feels the political leadership was 'ready to let a disaster unfold.' "...I am disappointed that I am leaving Bangladesh with the ban still in place on all political party activity, a ban which does not seem to apply to some behind-the-scenes activity promoting the concept of a new party," Butenis said while addressing the American Alumni Association at Gulshan Club. Although noting 'interesting' reform drives to improve the political and electoral process, she said, "I believe the engagement and ideally the support of the established parties are essential because, at the end of the day, it is hard to build a viable political process without them." -The Daily Star, June 14.

Two more extortion cases against Hasina
Two separate extortion cases--one for Tk 5 crore and another for over Tk 2.99 crore--were filed against former prime minister and Awami League (AL) President Sheikh Hasina. Noor Ali, managing director of Unique Group of Companies, filed a case with Tejgaon Police Station accusing Hasina and her two relatives of extorting Tk 5 crore in exchange for mediating between the Power Development Board (PDB) and his firm to finalise a power plant in 1997. Azam J Chowdhury, managing director of Eastcoast Trading Private Ltd, filed the other case with Gulshan Police Station against Hasina and AL leader Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim for extorting over Tk 2.99 crore. Earlier, another case was filed against Hasina on April 9 for extorting Tk 3 crore. In his complaint, Noor Ali alleged that he also had to give two flats to Rupa Chowdhury, wife of Hasina's cousin Sheikh Helal, after Helal threatened to interrupt the work of Noor's firm. Noor said of Tk 5 crore, he handed over Tk 3.2 crore in 12 cheques to Hasina at Ganabhaban between June 8, 1997 and May 20, 1999 and the rest Tk 1.8 crore through Helal at different times. In his statement, Noor said after he provided the Tk 5 crore, the PDB at the mediation of Hasina and Helal issued an offer letter in May 1999 to install the 110MW barge-mounted power plant at Haripur. -The Daily Star, June 14.

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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