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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: 191
October 23, 2010

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Accuser now speaks for the accused
The accuser sided with the persons accused of manufacturing adulterated paracetamol syrup that caused the death of 76 children in 1991. Standing on the dock 16 years after hearing of the much-publicised case against Adflame Pharmaceuticals began, complainant Abul Khair Chowdhury, the then drug superintendent, spoke in favour of the five accused, three of them still on the run. A puzzled prosecution immediately sought an adjournment on the proceedings. The Drug Court of Judge Mohammad Abdul Majid adjourned cross-examination of the complainant till January 5 following the petition by prosecutor Mahmud Hossain Jahangir. Prosecutor Jahangir said, "I was stunned hearing the answer. I saw the case was going to be lost and I had no other option left but to seek an immediate adjournment." -The Daily Star, October 21, 2010.

CJ in disguise visits Dhaka lower courts
Chief Justice ABM Khairul Haque in guise of a general visitor made surprise visits to different lower courts in Dhaka to see their proceedings. ABM Khairul Haque, the 19th chief justice of the country, is the first CJ known to make such visits. Sources said the CJ went to the court area around 11:30am and visited different courtrooms of the Dhaka District and Sessions Judge, Metropolitan Sessions Judge, Chief Metropolitan Magistrate and Chief Judicial Magistrate. Supreme Court Registrar Ashraful Islam and others accompanying him were all in plain clothes. Most of the judges and magistrates while conducting their court's proceedings could not recognise the chief justice. At some courts, he sat on the sofa meant for the lawyers and litigants, the sources added. - The Daily Star, October 21, 2010.

Govt mulls law to restrict tree felling
The government is planning to formulate a law restricting wholesale felling of trees as part of its policy to mitigate climate change, Law Minister Shafique Ahmed has said. "There could be a provision that two trees have to be planted if one fells one tree," he said, emphasising that the environment must be protected to save mankind. Shafique was addressing the launching of a report on climate change discourses in Bangladesh at the National Press Club in the capital as the chief guest. Dushtha Shasthya Kendra (DSK), a local NGO, came up with the report. The minister observed that although no major research has been done to assess the impact of climate change on Bangladesh, the reality is, country's food production, water resources, health and livelihoods are already being affected and will continue to be affected. -The Daily Star, October 20, 2010.

Chairman of Law Commission resigns
One and a half years before the completion of his tenure, Bangladesh Law Commission chairman Justice MA Rashid resigned from his office citing personal reason. He was appointed to the commission on April 21, 2009 for a three-year term. The government accepted his resignation soon after the letter, dated October 06, 2010, was received by the secretary to the legislative and parliamentary affairs wing of the law ministry. Talking to The Daily Star, Law Minister Barrister Shafique Ahmed confirmed the resignation. Dr M Shah Alam, a member of the commission, is likely to become the acting chairman of the commission until the government appoints its new chief, sources at law ministry said. - The Daily Star, October 20, 2010.

Govt moves to dispel confusion on religion
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said her government would exchange views with the religion-based political parties to dispel confusion over constitution amendments. Presiding over the weekly cabinet meeting, she also said Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim in the preamble to the constitution would stay, and so would Islam as state religion. Besides, the government would not seek any constitutional ban on religion-based politics, she told the meeting. The prime minister said she wants the Islamist parties to have a clear understanding of the government move regarding constitution amendments, cabinet sources said. However, Jamaat-e-Islami and Islami Oikya Jote, components of the BNP-led four-party alliance, would not be invited to the talks, a senior minister told The Daily Star. -The Daily Star, October 19, 2010.

Special court reads out charges against 623
As a special court resumed trial of 623 accused from 13 Rifle Battalion, the prosecutor told the court that the bloody mutiny at BDR Headquarters began from this battalion. He said sepoy Moin, one of the key planners of the mutiny, who first attempted to kill the then BDR director general during Darbar on February 25 last year, was from this battalion. Moin has been absconding since then. Prosecutor Lt Col Akhter Hamid Khan, who is also commanding officer of 13 Rifle Battalion, was placing charges against the accused before the court set up at the Darbar Hall in Pilkhana. If the jawans of this battalion would not assist sepoy Moin, the BDR officers did not have to lay down their lives, he said. After Lt Col Hamid's deposition the court started reading out specific charges against each of the accused. -The Daily Star, October 19, 2010.

AL tag used to grab land, river
A self-proclaimed ruling Awami League leader is setting up a brick kiln on a government land in the district's Baufal upazila, defying the local administration's orders. Nasim Ahmed, who claims to be the president of Bangladesh Awami Peshajibi League's central committee, began constructing the brickfield to the east of Gopalia Bazar launch terminal at Kachipara union around three weeks ago. Kazi Alamgir, organising secretary of Patuakhali district AL, said there is no such organisation affiliated with the party, and that they do not know anyone named Nasim Ahmed. Talking to The Daily Star last night, AL presidium member Obaidul Quader said, "Such phantom organisations have mushroomed since Awami League came to power. They use the party's name in illegal activities, and so legal actions must be taken against them." -The Daily Star, October 18, 2010.

Fake medicine factory busted
A team of Rapid Action Battalion yesterday busted a fake homeopathy medicine factory and arrested five people in this connection from Old Dhaka's Babu Bazar area. They also seized around 1,200 litres of rectified spirit from the spot. The arrestees are factory manager Mohammad Jasim Uddin, workers Nazrul Islam, Alamgir Hossain, Mizanur Rahman and Mohammad Mainuddin. Owner of the factory Hero Kamal, however, managed to escape arrest. A team of Rab-10, accompanied by Superintendent of Drug Administration Akib Hossain, raided the factory on the first floor of S Ahmed Market in Mitford. The team seized around 1500 bottles, each containing 100ml of rectified spirit, said Maj Harun-ur-Rashid, deputy director of the Rab unit. -The Daily Star, October 18, 2010.


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