Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Explain 'crossfire' in 48 hours

HC asks govt after deaths of two brothers in custody; Sahara claims 'no crossfire' since AL took office

By Bangladesh Media; The High Court issued a suo moto rule yesterday asking the government to explain extra-judicial killings within 48 hours. Home Minister Sahara Khatun however claimed that no such killings are being carried out in the country.

"We are not carrying out any crossfire right now. No such incident has taken place since our government assumed office," she told journalists after a special meeting on law and order at the home ministry.

The court in the rule directed the government to show why appropriate actions should not be taken against Rab officials--Major Wahiduzzaman and Lieutenant Hasan and their companions--for the killings of Lutfor Rahman Khalasi and Khairul Haque Khalasi in custody in Madaripur.

The High Court bench of Justice AFM Abdur Rahman and Justice Md Emdadul Haque Azad issued the rule following a newspaper report on the killings.

Besides, the court directed Rab director general to give an explanation in this regard, as heinous activities of extra-judicial killings are carried out in his battalion.

During the court proceedings, Supreme Court Bar Association Chairman advocate AFM Mesbahuddin told the court that any extra-judicial killings should be investigated and the responsible persons should be tried and punished.

Deputy Attorney General Kazi M Ejarul Haque Sagor told The Daily Star that the home secretary, DG of Rab, Major Wahiduzzaman and Lieutenant Hasan have been made respondents to the rule.

The lawyers concerned said the High Court bench issued the rule since a few pending writ petitions challenging the killings in custody had not been disposed of.

Lutfor Rahman and his younger brother Khairul Haque, who were operatives of outlawed Purba Banglar Communist Party, were killed during a "shootout" between their cohorts and Rab in Madaripur sadar upazila Monday morning.

Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh (HRPB) filed a writ petition with the High Court on August 6, 2006, challenging the legality of extra-judicial killings.

The HC issued a rule on the government, police and Rab the same day to explain why they should not be directed to ensure protection of the people held in custody.

But the final hearing of the petition was not held since the government did not reply to the rule, and the High Court bench, which was due to hold the hearing, was reconstituted recently, advocate Mazill Murshid, counsel for HRPB, said yesterday.


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