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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: 120
May 30 , 2009

This week's issue:
Law analysis
For Your information
Judgment review
Law news
Court corridor
Law Ammusement
Rights monitor
Human Rights advocacy
Law Week

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HRSS in December
Human Rights Summer School (HRSS) this year would be held tentatively in mid- December. HRSS is a two-week long residential training course on human rights jurisprudence and advocacy organized by Empowerment through Law of the Common People (ELCOP). Senior law students from the different public & private universities of the country form the corpus of participants. However, HRSS has been attended by students from countries like India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Iran in the past couple of years. The resource persons are drawn from the academicians, lawyers, Judges, NGO & human rights activists from home and abroad. In the past eminent educators from India, Nepal, the USA, Australia, South Africa and Bangladesh participated as resource persons. This year HRSS would celebrate its 10th Anniversary. Alumnus of the past Summer Schools are asked to give their present details to ELCOP Office or mail to elcop71@gmail.com. The main theme of this year's summer school is “Post-Justice Conflict, Peace and Human Rights”. The theme and other facets of the 10th Summer School were fixed in a meeting held at ELCOP office on 27 May 2009. Law teachers from different public and private universities were present in the meeting. Dr. Mizanur Rahman, Director HRSS and Professor of Law, Dhaka University reveals details of 10th HRSS while Dr. Shah Alam, Professor of Law, Chittagong University presided over the meeting. -Law Desk.

HC seeks river report
The High Court (HC) asked the authorities to place before it statements on the steps already taken and to be taken to prevent encroachment, earth-filling and construction of illegal structures on the rivers surrounding the capital. A division bench of the HC directed the directors general (DGs) of the Department of Environment (DoE) and Directorate of Land and Records (DLR), and chairman of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) to be present in the court for placing such statements on the rivers Buriganga, Turag, Balu and Shitalakhya. -The Daily Star, June 04, 2009.

Pintu caught from court
Nasiruddin Ahmed Pintu was arrested on the High Court compound in connection with the February 25-26 carnage at the Pilkhana BDR headquarters. Pintu, a former BNP lawmaker, is the first prominent political figure to have been arrested after the sensational incident. His name first officially surfaced when the report of the national committee for investigating the bloody mutiny at Pilkhana categorically said he helped mutineers flee by arranging engine-run boats to cross the Buriganga at Keraniganj ferry ghat. -The Daily Star, June 03, 2009.

Lawmakers pledge to save rivers
Speaker and members of parliament (MPs) made strong commitments to take every measure necessary to stop illegal grabbing and pollution of the rivers flowing through the country including those around the capital. They said the rivers are the lifelines of the country's economy, agriculture and livelihoods and any delay or negligence to save them would have disastrous consequences like shortage of both drinking and farm water and subsidence of soil in the city. The pledges came at the inaugural function of a programme titled “To the Prime Minister: Save rivers, save Dhaka”, a joint initiative of The Daily Star and Channel i held at the South Plaza of the National Parliament. -The Daily Star, June 02, 2009.

Sedition case called into question
Document shows BDR jawans of Bolipara Camp of 10 Rifle Battalion in Bandarban took up arms after their commanding officer on February 26 order them in writing to do so. However, a sedition case was later filed against 235 jawans of the camp for looting firearms from the arsenal. The order issued at 10:00am on February 26 reads, "Considering overall situation, I, the signatory, am issuing an order to the members of Bolipara Camp of 10 Rifle Battalion headquarters to take personal and heavy arms and ammunition from the arsenal…" The Daily Star has a copy of the order signed by the then commanding officer of the battalion Lt Col Abdullah Ali Jayeed.
-The Daily Star, June 02, 2009.

Grabbers flex court muscles
Although the High Court has recently directed the government to evict encroachers from four rivers around the capital, 147 grabbers had earlier managed status quo from the court through legal loopholes and turned everything in their favour. Legal experts say the court order went in favour of the grabbers incidentally as they never mentioned they were filing petitions regarding riverbank and often produced fake documents to mislead the court. Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) or the district administration could not take legal action against the encroachers following the status quo. -The Daily Star, May 31, 2009.

Trio to be asked to repay Tk 1.36cr
A parliamentary sub-committee finalised a set of recommendations including one for recovering Tk 1.36 crore “taken illegally” as fuel allowance by former speaker Jamiruddin Sircar, his deputy Akhtar Hamid Siddiqui and former chief whip Khandaker Delwar Hossain. Formed to look into alleged corruption in procurement and arboriculture in the parliament secretariat in the last seven years, it will submit a report to the legislature's all-party probe body. Earlier, the sub-committee found that Sircar received around Tk 60 lakh, Akhtar Hamid Tk 36.63 lakh and Delwar Tk 40 lakh beyond their entitlement to fuel allowance. -The Daily Star, May 31, 2009.

River authorities guilty too
Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA), the organisation responsible to protect the rivers from encroachers, has set up structures on the filled-up land and rented out those, apparently encouraging these greedy people to violate the laws. In a recent visit to Sadarghat, it was seen encroachment on the Buriganga continues on both sides of the BIWTA office. The Buckland embankment constructed along the riverbank in Sadarghat has now become a narrow lane. Every day the embankment faces huge traffic congestion as the BIWTA authorities have built several markets on it in two rows. -The Daily Star, May 30, 2009.

Killing in 'crossfire' causing concern
Despite repeated protests at home and abroad, extra-judicial killings by the law enforcers continue unabated, causing concern among the people. Apart from constituting human rights violation, killings in the name of 'crossfire' or 'encounter' raise questions over the law enforcers' training and skills in handling firearms. Sources said around 800 people were killed in 'crossfire' or 'encounter' across the country since 2004. Of them, 570 were killed by the Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) and the rest by the police. Some 70 people were shot during 'gunfight' with police and Rab in last one month.
-The Daily Star, May 30, 2009.

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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