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HC censures Prothom Alo

Matiur’s apology accepted, Mizanur guilty of gross contempt

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By bdnews24.com
14th-Mar-2014       
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The High Court has found Prothom Alo Joint Editor Mizanur Rahman Khan guilty of gross contempt for two of his articles published by the Bengali daily.
The court also censured the newspaper and warned it and other mass media that they should be cautious in future before publishing such articles.
Despite his unconditional apology, Khan has been slapped a fine of Tk 5,000 and the judges considered the five days of hearing he spent standing in the dock was as good as convicted and sentenced.
The bench of Justices Naima Haider and Zafar Ahmed on Thursday, however, acquitted the daily's Editor Matiur Rahman as he sought unconditional apology.
The presiding judge started delivering the verdict around 2:30pm with Khan standing in the dock and Rahman seated on the front bench in the courtroom packed with journalists and lawyers.
The court said, "It has been noticed by this court that previously Mr Khan has written some contumacious articles against this court and it is understood that some contempt proceedings are still pending."
"Be that as it may, for publishing the aforesaid libellous and contumacious article in question, we find Mr Khan guilty of gross contempt of court and accordingly convict and sentence him for the period he was standing on the dock for four days and till rise of the court," said the verdict.
"Since Mr Khan, the Contempter No. 1 has realised that by writing the highly contemptuous article, he has committed gross contempt of court, and sought unconditional apology in the midst of the hearing on 11th March, 2014 at 12:15pm, and stood before the court with folded hand, although the unconditional apology came at a much belated stage, this court refrained from sentencing him any further time, but imposes a penalty of 5000 taka for contempt of court."
The court said it was sentencing Khan in exercise of its inherent power as a Court of Record under Article 108 of the Constitution.
Addressing Mizanur Rahman Khan, it said, "This court wants to put on record and warns the Contemnor Respondent No. 1 not to publish any such article/comments or make any remarks in future attacking the authority of this court as well as the Honourable Judges."
"Unconditional Apology sought by Editor, Printer, Publisher of Prothom alo is accepted, and he is exonerated from the charge."
After the verdict, Khan said he will speak to his lawyers about his next decision after receiving a copy of the full verdict.
Matiur, however, did not care to comment on the verdict.

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