Fake case must stop and ensure Constitutional rights25 December 2022
Barrister Solaiman Tushar :
The constitution is the supreme law of Bangladesh. Any law inconsistent with the Constitution is null and void. According to Article 35(5) of the constitution, 'No person shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman, or degrading punishment or treatment'. According to section 58 of the Prisons Act, 1894 'No prisoner shall be put in irons or under mechanical restraint by the Jailer of his own authority, except in case of urgent necessity, in which case notice thereof shall be forthwith given to the Superintendent'. The sections mentioned that irons or under mechanical restraint by the Jailer of his own authority, except in case of urgent necessity.
Ali Azam, president of the BNP Boali Union in Kaliakair Upazila of Gazipur attended the namaz-e-janaza (the funeral prayers) of his mother on 20 December 2022 with handcuffs.
He is accused in a fake or disappearance case. On 18 December 2022 Ali Azam's mother Mrs Sahera Begum (67) died due to old age. Ali Azam applied for parole to the Deputy Commissioner on 19 December 2022 through a lawyer to attend his mother's funeral prayers and was released on 20 December only for three hours. During the funeral, he was requested to remove his handcuffs and gloves, but the police did not take this into consideration. Ali Azam is the accused in the case filed under the Explosive Substances Act for allegedly attacking the office of Awami League in the Chandra Trimor area of Kaliakair Upazila of Gazipur on 29 November Ali Azam was arrested in that case on 02 December. In that case, 11 people including Ali Azam were named and 150 anonymous people were accused. Abdul Mannan Sheikh, the office assistant of the Awami League office, was made the plaintiff in the case. But he said that he does not know anything about the incident and the case. He was in another place at that time of occurrence. Although he did not know about the incident, the plaintiff in the case is Abdul Mannan Sheikh, office assistant of the Awami League office. It can be said that this is a fake case. There are rules to put in irons or under mechanical restraint if someone behaves aggressively or is a dangerous criminal or has the possibility of escape. Ali Azam is the main leader of the Union BNP. And he is the accused in that case; he has not been sentenced yet. So there is no possibility of him absconding. Additionally, Ali Azam was released on parole to attend his mother's funeral. Here was an opportunity to consider the humanitarian grounds. In fact; the human rights of human beings have been grossly violated by being put in irons or under mechanical restraint.
Through this, not the individual Ali Azam, but human rights have been violated grossly. According to Article 27 of the Constitution, "All citizens are equal before the law and are entitled to equal protection of law". But in reality, the police do not follow the law properly.
Recently, various discussions are being held nationally and internationally about fake or disappearances cases. On 13 March 2019, Voice of America reported that Police in Bangladesh registered thousands of criminal cases on incidents that had not taken place in real life at all. Fictitious cases were filed against many people who were dead, infirm, or migrants during the period of the falsely-claimed violent incidents in the country. On 17 November 2022, it was reported through the local media that a two-year-old and 10-month-old child in Chattogram have been accused in a case under the Digital Security Act. However, according to Section 82 of the Penal Code, 'Nothing is an offence which is done by a child under nine years of age'. In many cases, the police are filing the cases or the defendants are politically influenced. BNP standing committee member Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain said as chief guest at a discussion marking the 86th birth anniversary of party founder Ziaur Rahman at the National Press Club on 20 January 2022 'more than one lakh cases were filed against 36 lakh BNP leaders and activists. Disappearances and extrajudicial killings are going on'. This cannot be the image of a democratic country.
Fake or disappearances cases have emerged since the caretaker government led by Fakhruddin Ahmed came to power. Even though Fakhruddin Ahmed is not in power now, the disappearance case has not stopped. Now only time will say the future of fake cases. It is real-time to consider the fake case and gross violation of human rights. The State must take proper steps to stop fake cases and ensure the constitutional rights of every citizen of the country.
(The writer is a member of the Honourable Society of Lincoln's Inn and Dhaka Bar Association, and Human Rights Lawyer).