Sunday, December 20, 2009

Judiciary:

Judiciary upset by 'crossfire'! SC judge tells a meeting

By Bangladesh Media; Extra-judicial killings and the process of police remand are disturbing for the judiciary and suicidal for the nation, a Supreme Court (SC) judge said yesterday. “These are two disturbing factors for the judiciary, and it is suicidal for the society, the nation and the country to leave with the law enforcement agencies to decide who should be killed on criminal charges," said Justice Nazrul Islam Chowdhury.

Justice Nazrul was speaking as a special guest at the 'national advocacy meeting on repression on media and political violence: state responsibility and democratic culture' in the capital, organised by rights body Odhikar.
"Extra-judicial killing must be stopped," he said, adding that the apex court judges have to take oath to protect and preserve fundamental rights of the citizens.“No further killing in crossfire" he said, "Bring anyone to justice if accused of criminal charges.”
 

The High Court on December 14 expressed grave concern over persistent extra-judicial killings as 11 people were killed in custody since its November 17 suo moto rule upon the government for an explanation on the
matter.


Meanwhile, rights groups Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST) and Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK) in separate statements submitted to the court said over 1,000 people have been killed in custody in "so-called" crossfire, encounter or gunfight since the formation of Rapd Action Battalion (Rab) in 2004.


According to official sources, 606 people were killed in crossfire or encounter since the inception of Rab. Of them, 74 were killed during joint drives by Rab and police.
Justice Nazrul said Section 167 of the criminal procedure code does not allow any repression or coercive measures against an accused in the name of remand, but coercive measures are taken with misinterpretation of the section.

The government should immediately pay adequate attention to stopping extra-judicial killing and repressive police remand, and making the parliament effective with rigorous debate on enacting any law, he said.


Chairman of National Human Rights Commission Justice Amirul Kabir Chowdhury, who was the chief guest at the meeting, said a committee comprised of a deputy secretary-level officer, a superintendent of police and a civil society representative should investigate each of the extra-judicial killings, and make the findings public.
“Free media is a must for a democratic society,” he said. “Media also must not have allegiance to any political party or individual, and it has to serve only public interests.”

According to Odhikar documentations, 229 media repressions occurred during January to December this year. These included three cases of killings, 71 injuries, 36 assaults, 16 attacks, one abduction, 68 threats, suing 16 and 18 others.
During the period, 15,126 incidents of political violence took place, including 239 killings.

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