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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: 224
January 28, 2006

This week's issue:
Human Rights Advocacy
Star Law Analysis
Law Education
Law News
Law Campaign
Rights Investigation
Law Watch
Law Week

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72 including 12 journos hurt as cops swoop on opposition march
At least 20 Awami League (AL) activists and 12 journalists were injured as police swooped on an AL procession supporting dawn-to-dusk hartal called by the 14-party opposition alliance. Forty others were injured in separate clashes between the police and opposition activists. Police attacked an AL procession with batons and lobbed at least 50 teargas shells when the procession tried to break through a police barricade enclosing the AL central office. The 14-party opposition alliance, comprising the AL, 11-party alliance, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD) and National Awami Party, will observe the countrywide hartal demanding Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) MA Aziz's immediate resignation and cancellation of two new election commissioners' appointments. The clash erupted when AL activists started to hurl bricks at the police, refused to open the barricades letting the procession out of Bangabandhu Avenue. -- Prothom Alo, January 22.

EU worried over rights abuse
A high powered EU delegation expressed concern over human rights abuse while a section of the civil society urged the team to monitor the whole election process in the next general polls instead of the voting day only. "They [the EU delegates] were concerned over human rights issues in the country and said they feel it creates an environment of human rights abuse. This, in turn, affects both good governance and the electoral process," said Sharmeen Murshid, chief executive of officer of Brotee, who was present at the meeting. The troika sat with the civil society members to be briefed about the current political climate in the country and to understand what should be their role in Bangladesh as a significant member of the international community. The Troika arrived in Dhaka led by Nikolaus Scherk, director for Asia Pacific at the Austrian foreign ministry, representing the EU Presidency. Pekka Metso, director for Asia and Oceania, representing the incoming Finnish presidency of the EU, and Michael Swann representing the High Represen-tative for Common Foreign and Security Policy are accompanying him. -- The Daily Star, January 23.

7 killed as cops fire on electricity hungry mob
Seven people were killed and more than a hundred injured when police opened fire to disperse a mob in Kansat Bazar in Chapainawabganj, 19 days into a similar incident that left two people killed in the same area. The firing took place when locals were demonstrating for the release of three leaders of Palli Bidyut Sangram Committee (PBSC), an organisation of local electricity subscribers, arrested in connection with January 4 violence in the area. Of the dead, six were identified as Anwar, a rickshawpuller and son of Anij Uddin, Nasir, son of Ayej Uddin, Mannan, a day labourer and son of Mosahak, Garibullah, son of Nizam Uddin of Kansat, Chowdhury of Chatra Krishnachandrapur and Rashid. Another unidentified juvenile injured in the incident died at Rajshahi Medical College and Hospital. -- The Daily Star, January 23.

Arms Smuggling Dhaka to ask Delhi to help block routes
The government will ask the Indian government to help block the routes used by the militants to smuggle in explosives from India for subversive acts across Bangladesh in the last few months. Sources also said the government will request its Indian counterpart to conduct an investigation to verify the information obtained from some arrested militants about an Indian arms ring involved in selling explosives to the Bangladeshi militants, and take measures to trace the syndicate and stop its activities. Law enforcers and intelligence agencies are preparing a detailed report on their findings about the networks of explosives smugglers both in Bangladesh and India. The report will include among other things the detained militants' statements in this regard. "The report will be completed in a few days," a top official of an intelligence agency told The Daily Star recently on condition of anonymity. -- The Daily Star, January 24.

President urges all to root out fanaticism
President Iajuddin Ahmed appealed to the people and political parties to root out extremism and fanaticism from Bangladesh's soil and build a welfare state by institutionalising democracy, as the nation passes through a trying time. In his address to the House at its first sitting of the new year, the president also urged the lawmakers for constructive, effective and active participation in the process of establishing democracy, rising above jealousy, malice, and petty personal and party interests. President Ahmed, who made his last formal address to the present parliament that completes its five-year tenure in October, urged the people to exercise their franchise in the next parliamentary elections and thus help nourish democracy. -- UNB, Dhaka, January 24.

Govt not sure about arrest of Abdur Rahman in India
The government could not confirm the local media reports that police in the Indian state of West Bengal had arrested Shaekh Abdur Rahman, chief of banned Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), in 24 Parganas. Indian police, meantime, confirmed they had detained a man in West Bengal but did not say whether he was the hunted Bangladeshi militant kingpin, reports Reuters. State Minister for Home Affairs Lutfozzaman Babar told reporters that he came to know of the developments from local newspapers. He said they are trying to be sure through the foreign ministry and diplomatic channels about what in fact has happened. But they have not got any such information confirming the reports yet. Two Bangla and an English daily yesterday reported that police picked up Abdur Rahman, supreme leader of the banned Islamist militant group responsible for countrywide bomb blasts since August 17, from a hideout in Barasat. -- The Daily Star, January 25.

Grafts can be halved in a year: ACC chief
Identifying political will as the key to address the issue of corruption, Chairman of Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Justice Sultan Hossain Khan said corruption in the country can come down to a half within a year. The offenders should be punished without wasting any time and awareness should be created among all concerned against corruption, he said, adding, "Unless there is a national consensus brought about by political will, anti-corruption measures can not succeed." He was speaking as the guest of honour on 'Role of the Anti-Corruption Commission in Shaping the Future of Bangladesh' at the January monthly luncheon meeting of the American Chamber of Commerce in Bangladesh (AmCham) at Dhaka Sheraton Hotel. -- The Daily Star, January 25.

Curb terror finance, militancy to skirt US sanctions
The US asked Bangladesh to take several steps including curbing militancy and terror financing so that it does not face sanctions under the US Terrorist Financing Act. The visiting US State Department Assistant Secretary for South Asian Affairs Christina Rocca said Washington is deeply concerned about the rise of militancy and human rights scenario in Bangladesh and wants to see quick and positive solutions to the problems. Rocca conveyed the concerns of her government to the prime minister, foreign minister and state minister for home affairs during separate meetings. She said the United States also wants to see that the next general elections are held in time. She categorically asked State Minister for Home Affairs Lutfozzaman Babar to immediately arrest Jamaa'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) chief Shaekh Abdur Rahman and his associate Siddiqul Islam alias Bangla Bhai, operations commander of Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh. -- The Daily Star, January 27.

In the book review titled" Ratification of Rome Statute" published on January 21, 2006, the name of the writer Muhammad Zamir was inadvertently not printed there.

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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