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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: 177
July 10, 2010

This week's issue:
Human Rights Monitor
Legal Education
Star Law Book Review
Rights Investigation
Rights corner
Law lexicon
Law Week

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Law week

HR Commission to exercise its power
The National Human Right Commission (NHRC) will not hesitate to apply its powers in cases of extra-judicial killings and custodial deaths, Chairman of the commission Prof Mizanur Rahman asserted. The NHRC is empowered to investigate incidents of violation of human rights, recommend to the government taking action regarding such incidents and file criminal cases against the perpetrators. “We have already conveyed our concern over incidents of extra-judicial killings, deaths in custody and missing of some people to the higher authorities of Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) and the police,” he said. Mizanur was talking to journalists after the NHRC had a meeting between with Law Minister Shafique Ahmed at his secretariat office. Mizanur noted that extra-judicial killings are not acceptable in any civilised country. - The Daily Star, July 8, 2010.

Money-laundering charges pressed
The Anti-Corruption Commission pressed money-laundering charges against BNP Senior Vice-Chairman Tarique Rahman and his business partner Giasuddin Al Mamun. ACC Assistant Director Mohammad Ibrahim submitted the charge sheet to the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate's Court in Dhaka, accusing the two of laundering Tk 20.41 crore in between 2003 and 2007. Tarique had realised the money in foreign currencies from different companies and organisations. In exchange for the sums, he had promised to win them contracts using his clout as son of the then prime minister Khaleda Zia, read the charge sheet. - The Daily Star, July 7, 2010.

JS body roots for servicemen's HR
A parliamentary body recommended that the armed forces review their laws and regulations and bring necessary amendments to update those and to ensure human rights for military personnel. The parliamentary standing committee on defence ministry made the suggestion observing that the age old laws of the army, navy and air force do not have the provisions to guarantee human rights for servicemen. Bangladesh Army in a letter to the parliamentary body said a process is underway to amend the army laws and regulations to "strengthen country's democratic process and ensure its transparency and accountability", said a meeting source. Bangladesh Navy and Air Force also informed the committee in writing that they are also working to bring amendments to their regulations, the source added. - The Daily Star, July 7, 2010.

Rab told of zero tolerance policy
The National Human Rights Commission will pursue a "zero tolerance" policy on extra-judicial killings and custodial deaths in violation of human rights, NHRC Chairman Prof Mizanur Rahman said. "We want to convey our stance on the issue to everyone," he told journalists after a meeting with the director general (DG) of Rapid Action Battalion. Earlier, the commission had asked DG of the elite force Hassan Mahmood Khandker to appear before it to discuss alleged extra judicial killings and custodial deaths. - The Daily Star, July 7, 2010.

Cops slammed for custodial deaths
The High Court slammed the police for custodial deaths, and said such incidents must not recur. It ordered the Dhaka Metropolitan Police commissioner to turn in a report within two weeks on measures to prevent lock-up deaths. It also asked him to submit inquest reports on three recent deaths in police custody. The bench of Justice AHM Shamsuddin Chowdhury Manik and Justice Md Zakir Hossain came up with the orders in response to a writ petition filed by two rights groups. It directed the home secretary to form within a week a committee comprising officials other than police personnel to investigate the three deaths. - The Daily Star, July 6, 2010.

EU worried as RMG unrest continues
The European Union has expressed concern over the frequent unrest in Bangladesh's apparel industry as garment workers continued their agitation vandalising several factories and vehicles in Ashulia and Narayanganj. The violence resulted in the temporary production halt at 26 factories. A three-member delegation led by the EU Ambassador Stefan Frowein met Labour Minister Khandker Mosharraf Hossain at his Secretariat office and informed him about their concern. They told the minister that the EU and their citizens, who are consumers of the Bangladeshi garment products, are very worried over the state of the sector. - The Daily Star, July 6, 2010.

Telcos must have right to appeal
A parliamentary body recommended setting up a "telecom appeal board" allowing telecom operators and ICT based organisations to appeal against actions of the government and BTRC. On scrutinising a bill seeking amendments to the Bangladesh Telecommunications Act 2010, the parliamentary standing committee on post and telecommunications ministry came up with the suggestion following concerns raised by telecom operators and ICT based entrepreneurs. The bill, placed in the parliament on June 13, proposed a number of amendments to the act including punishment to telecom operators for wrongdoings, giving them no scope for challenging the actions of the government or Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC). - The Daily Star, July 6, 2010.

Alamgir acquitted; hopes for others
The Supreme Court scrapped jail sentence of Awami League lawmaker Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir and cleared corruption charges against him, paving the way for over four dozen suspects to be relieved of graft charges. Alamgir's legal win would frustrate the first move of the immediate past caretaker government to bring 50 high-profile graft suspects into book, observe legal experts and anti-corruption officials. Also nears a fruitless end the first drive against rampant corruption by the reformed ACC, which emerged from an apparently non-functional commission led by Justice Sultan Hossain Khan and politically biased and now-defunct Bureau of Anti-Corruption in 2004. - The Daily Star, July 5, 2010.

2yrs jail for disgracing national flag
The cabinet approved the Bangladesh National Anthem, Flag and Emblem (Amendment) Act, 2010 with provision of maximum two years' imprisonment or Tk 10,000 in fine or both for disrespecting the national anthem, flag or emblem. Prime Minister's Press Secretary Abul Kalam Azad said this to reporters after the cabinet meeting with Sheikh Hasina in the chair. The decision was taken to bring under a legal framework the proper use of national anthem, flag and emblem, a highly placed source in the Prime Minister's Office told The Daily Star. - The Daily Star, July 5, 2010.

Amendment needed to stop false case filing
Law Minister Shafique Ahmed said the women and children repression prevention act should be amended in order to prevent its misuses by the victims. In many cases, the victims file cases against the offenders and a number of their relatives though all of them are not involved in the offences, he said, adding that many of the accused are, therefore, acquitted on the court orders. The minister made the remarks while speaking as the chief guest at a workshop on “Draft law, 2010 to prevent sexual harassment at educational institutions and work places", “Amendment of the existing law regarding eve teasing as well as sexual harassment” and “Amendment of the Women and Children Repression Prevention Act 2000” in the city. Bangladesh Law Commission and Bangladesh National Woman Lawyers Association (BNWLA) jointly organised the workshop at BRAC Centre Inn at Mohakhali. - The Daily Star, July 4, 2010.


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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