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PRODUCTION OF ACCUSED BEFORE MEDIA

Law enforcers keep flouting HC order

Muktadir Rashid

Law enforcement agencies and forces such as the Coast Guard keep flouting a High Court of 2012 on how people arrested and accused in cases should be presented before the media.
Even after a year when the High Court on December 12, 2012 issued such an order, law enforcers and a few other security forces keep either attaching placards with name or allowing the media to record the confessional statement of the accused in breach of the court directive.
Rights activists have for years protested at such acts of the law enforces and demanded that they should comply with the court order in presenting such people before the media.
‘The production of people arrested or accused in cases before the media this way victimises such people before their trial is completed,’ Ain o Salish Kendra’s director (investigation) Nur Khan Liton said. ‘As a result, such people lose their right to getting justice.’
The police headquarters on January 12, 2013 issued a directive to all its units, including Rapid Action Battalion, metropolitan polices and superintendents asking them not to attach to any such placards to the arrested or accused or hang them from the neck.
The directive signed by additional deputy inspector general (discipline and professional standards) at the police headquarters Alamgir Alam also asked them not to allow the media to
record confessional statements of the arrested or the accused.
The 2012 High Court order said that the High Court also thought that there would be no restrictions on the police allowing journalists to collect news and photographs of the arrested and the accused for public information but the arrested and the accused ‘must not be placed before media for any kind of confession’ and no sticker should be hung or attached to the body of the arrested and the accused in any manner so that the accused could be presumed guilty or convicted.
But photographs and documents of recent times show that law enforcers in Chittagong and Jhalakati and other forces such as the Coast Guard have violated the court order as they attacked such placards with names to the body of the accused making scope for the public to presume them guilty.
The Inter Service Public Relations of the defence ministry also released a photograph of the accused with such placards attached to the body.
The Chittagong police, the Coast Guard and the ISPR provided the media with photographs of the arrested and accused with placards with names attacked to the body.
The Bangladesh Coast Guard also violated the court order at least on a dozen occasions.
Coast Guard director Commander MB Rashid, who deals with the media, told New Age that they had not received any such order of the court.
‘If there were such an order, how other law enforcement agencies such as the police, the Rapid Action Battalion and the Detective Branch could breach the order?’ he said.
The ISPR provided the media with a photograph on January 10 of seven people with placards with names and also having the word ‘Robber’ hung from their neck.
An ISPR official admitted to being negligent in this case and said that they such mistakes would not be repeated.
In Thakurgaon, Ikram Hossain was arrested on January 28 on charge of killing Golapi Akhter, a student of Class VII.
The Detective Branch pasted a sticker on the chest of the arrested, with the name and the phrase ‘Golapi’s killer.’ The photograph was printed in local and online newspapers.
The additional superintendent of police in Thakurgaon, Belayet Hossain, said that they had not released the photograph as it is strictly prohibited after the incident of judicial officer Javed Imam. He, however, said that he would look into it.
The police at Patiya in Chittagong in January produced three people accused in a case before the media in connection with the killing of Shahjahan Aulia Madrassah superintendent Abdul Aziz at Kharana.
Patiya police inspector (investigation) Shawkat Hossain said that they had hung placards with names from the neck of three minor boys. ‘The placards might have been hung for identification.’
The inspector general of police, Hassan Mahmood Khandkar, told New Age that they followed the High Court order. ‘We must take action against officials doing this after inquiry if there was any such violation.’
In August 2013, the Jhalakathi police produced eight people suspected of being members of Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami before the media with each having a placard on their chest reading ‘HuJi members.’




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