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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: 232
April 1, 2006

This week's issue:
Human Rights Analysis
Law Vision
Rights Corner
Human Rights Monitor
Law Reform
Law News
Law Week

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Law Week

CEC faces contempt for 'lacking confidence' in SC
The Supreme Court issued a suo moto contempt rule against Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) MA Aziz and BNP lawmaker Nurul Islam Moni apparently for lacking confidence in the apex court dealing with the much-talked about voter list case. The full bench of the Appellate Division chaired by Chief Justice Syed JR Mudassir Husain ordered the CEC and the ruling BNP lawmaker to show cause by April 9 as to why contempt proceedings should not be brought against them. The chief justice also said the CEC's leave to appeal petition against the High Court's January 4 directives on voter list will remain adjourned until disposal of the contempt issue. The next hearing on the matter will be held on April 9. Nurul Islam Moni on February 4 sent a "confidential and urgent letter" to Advocate Khandaker Mahbubuddin Ahmed, MP, chief counsel for the CEC. The letter sought to bring to the recipient's notice Awami League (AL) lawmaker Dr Alauddin Ahmed's comments at a talk show on satellite TV channel ATN Bangla. It says Alauddin Ahmed had remarked that the CEC, also a sitting judge of the Supreme Court, would have to leave the Election Commission (EC) after February 6, the date scheduled for hearing on the leave to appeal. -The Daily Star, March 28.

Kuwait-based NGO using funds despite govt ban
Despite an embargo on its fund release due to alleged terror links, the Kuwait-based NGO Revival of Islamic Heritage Society (RIHS) is using bank accounts to run official work without the government's knowledge. Sources said large amounts of money have recently been withdrawn by cheques from a joint account of a private bank's Uttara branch in Dhaka to pay off RIHS officials and carry out construction work. The account belongs to RIHS-run Kidney Dialysis Centre Director Zafar Musa Abu Moaz, an Iraqi national, and RIHS Bangladeshi Office Secretary Fazlur Rahman. Though the sums were withdrawn for official purpose, the cheques did not bear any seals of the NGO, said the sources. Abu Moaz was ousted from Iraq for his alleged ties with international extremist outfit Ikhwanul Muslimin, they added. NGO bureau sources said they are knowledgeable about one RIHS account with Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited's Uttara branch that was suspended on requests from the central bank and intelligence agencies. The RIHS has received huge amounts of money through hundi since the arrest of Ahle Hadith Andolan, Bangladesh (Ahab) chief Asadullah Al Galib in February 2005 as the government stopped releasing its funds. -The Daily Star, March 28.

SC Bar demands judicial probe into 'crossfire' killings
The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) demanded judicial investigation into 204 extra-judicial killings in the name of "encounter" and "crossfire" in the last two years. SCBA President Advocate Mahbubey Alam and Secretary Advocate M Enayetur Rahim in a statement also blasted the government for giving Swadhinata Padak (independence award) to Rapid Action Battalion (Rab). They said the extra-judicial killings are clear violation of human rights. "Bangladesh has been criticised due to the incidents of extra-judicial killings. Executive investigations into the incidents are merely unreal, immoral, unjust and expression of no-confidence in the constitution, existing laws and the judiciary," the statement said. The SCBA leaders said killings in the custody of the law enforcement agencies, including the Rab, in the name of "encounter" and "crossfire" without handing over the arrested persons to courts are the same offence the militants are committing taking position against the constitution, existing laws and the judicial system. Their targets are same and identical, they said. -BD News, March 28.

Experts doubt EC's ability to hold polls
Considering the prevailing situation in the Election Commission (EC), experts doubted its ability to hold the next parliamentary election. Crises in the EC are deepening over voter list preparation, appointment of two new election commissioners and the latest contempt charge against the chief election commissioner (CEC) himself. With the next general elections only nine months away, the EC has not taken steps to strengthen its mechanism to check the influence of black money and muscle power in the upcoming elections. A deadlock prevails in the EC, observed M Hafizuddin Khan, former adviser to caretaker government. "A new election commission should be formed, comprising efficient people acceptable to all, as I think it's not possible to hold the next election by the present commission," he told The Daily Star. "Holding an election is a very tough job. The commission will have to do many tasks. I don't see this efficiency in the present set-up," he elaborated, adding, "The present election commission has fallen in an enormous controversy, to which I see no sign of ending." - The Dily Star, March 29.

BGMEA starts crash programmeto check factory accidents
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) launched a crash programme to prevent industrial accidents, particularly fire incidents, which tarnished the image of the industry. "The readymade garment industry is now in a vulnerable situation," BGMEA President Tipu Munshi said while inaugurating the programme at the BGMEA office. "Successful implementation of the programme will help revive the image of the industry," he hoped, calling upon the entrepreneurs to help implement the programme. The apex trade body of the apparel industry took up the crash programme immediately after the fire at KTS Textile Industries (Pvt) Limited in Chittagong and formed a 40-member committee divided in 10 teams to monitor with cameras the RMG factories. Under the programme, the BGMEA will fine a factory Tk 10,000 if it keeps its gates closed during working hours for the first time and Tk 50,000 for the second time. The BGMEA will cut all facilities to the factory if it commits the same offence for the third time. -UNB, Dhaka, March 29.

Dhaka court takes up murder case against Babar
A Dhaka court took up the case filed against state minister for home affairs and 52 others in connection with the death of Jubo League leader Masudur Rahman Iman Ali in Rab-claimed "crossfire." Judge Mohammad Momin Ullah of the Metropolitan Sessions Judge's Court passed the order following a criminal revision filed by Nazrul Islam, elder brother of the victim, against the dismissal order of the lower court. The court fixed May 5 for hearing on the acceptability of the charges brought against the accused in the case. On March 22, Metropolitan Magistrate AJM Abdullahel Baqui dismissed the case saying that the victim was murdered at Savar but the case was filed showing the place of occurrence (PO) as Kotwali in Dhaka. The accused in the case are State Minister for Home Affairs Lutfozzaman Babar, his cousins Mirza Hafizur Rahman and Mirza Nurul Islam, Home Secretary Sarfarraj Hossain, Inspector General of Police (IGP) Abdul Quayyum, Additional IG (Headquarters) Anwarul Iqbal, Additional IG (Special Branch) Fakrul Ahmed, and Additional IG (Criminal Investigation Department) Khoda Baksh. The other accused are Director General (DG) of Rab Abdul Aziz Sarker, its commanding officer, second-in-command, DIG of Dhaka Range Dr Sadikur Rahman, Superintendent of Police (SP) of Dhaka Baktiar Alam, Officer-in-Charge (OC) of Savar Police Station Mohammad Haider Ali, Sub-Inspector (SI) Mortuza, 16 unidentified members of Rab-4, six unidentified constables and 16 other people. -The Daily Star, March 29.


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