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Special tribunal for journalist repression cases demanded

Staff Correspondent

The leaders of the journalist community on Tuesday submitted a memorandum to the speaker of the parliament and all the parliament members, demanding establishment of a special tribunal to expedite the trial of cases dealing with repression of journalists.
The leaders, at an agitation rally on Tuesday noon, also urged the government to arrest immediately Mahfuzur Rahman, chairman of private television station ATN Bangla, for his comment on the killing of journalists Sagar Sarowar and Meherun Nahar Runi.
Presidents of two factions of the Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists, Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury and Ruhul Amin Gazi, general secretaries of two factions of Dhaka Union of Journalists, Shaban Mahmud and Muhammad Baker Hossain, acting secretary general of one faction M Abdullah, and president of Dhaka Reporters' Unity Shakhawat Hossain Badshah and general secretary Sajjad Alam Khan Tapu submitted the memorandum to the Parliament.
The leaders demanded a special tribunal to speed up the judgement of all the journalist killing cases, exemplary punishment of all the responsible persons for torturing and killing journalists, enactment of a law to replace all the black laws against a free media, right to formulate trade unions, and a higher salary structure and all other opportunities according to the wage board for all working journalists.
They also urged the speaker to take measures to ensure the trial of the killings of journalists including Humayun Kabir Balu, Shamsur Rahman, Manik Saha, Dipanker Chakrabarti, Goutam Das, Khokon, Sagar and Runi.
Speaker Abdul Hamid said he could not take any measures by himself but if any parliament member drew the House’s attention to the matter he would take some measures.
The BFUJ, DUJ, DRU, National Press Club, Sub Editors Forum and Crime Reporters Association jointly organised a rally in front of the National Press Club, blocking the adjacent road which stopped plying of vehicles for about two hours.
Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury said Mahfuzur Rahman was a pervert and he should be arrested for interrogation as he had told journalists in London that Sagar and Runi might have been the victims of an ‘extramarital affair’.
Boishakhi TV’s chief executive officer, Manjurul Ahsan Bulbul, said it was a well-established truth that there was no judgement if any journalist was repressed or murdered in Bangladesh.
ATN Bangla’s chief news editor, JE Mamun, said his colleagues did not agree with the comment of the chairman.
The leaders also protested against the law enforcement agencies’ inactive role in investigating journalist torture cases.

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