Dhaka, Aug 7 (Just News): The High Court Division on Tuesday directed the government and the inspector general of the police to immediately ensure health examination and treatment of detained acclaimed photographer and rights activist Shahidul Alam at the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University Hospital.
A bench of Justice Syed Muhammad Dastagir Husain and Justice Md Iqbal Kabir also directed the respondents to submit report about Shahidul Alam’s health condition at today’s hearing.
The bench also directed HC registrar’s office to immediately convey ‘this order’ to the respondents, the home secretary, the IGP, the additional commissioner at the Detective Branch of Dhaka Metropolitan Police and Ramna police station’s officer-in-charge.
The court issued the directive after hearing a writ petition filed by Shahidul Alam’s partner, writer and columnist Rahnuma Ahmed.
In the writ petition, Rahnuma challenged the constitutionality of torturing Shahidul Alam by the DB in its custody.
Petitioner Rahnuma also challenged the legality of allowing the DB to take Shahidul Alam in its remand after subjecting him to torture and beatings.
In the writ petition Rahnuma said that additional chief metropolitan magistrate Asaduzzman Noor allowed the DB to take 63-year old Shahidul Alam in a critical condition flouting Appellate Division’s standing directives and guidelines to magistrates for sending detained people on remands.
Jurist Kamal Hossain with his junior Sara Hossain sought directives to the police not to torture Shahidul Alam in their police custody.
The bench said that ‘he is fortunate not to have become a victim of enforced disappearance.’
At the half-an hour hearing, Kamal Hossain submitted that Shahidul Alam’s family members spent 12 hours since he was picked up by plainclothes people in a microbus not knowing about his whereabouts.
He submitted that Shahidul Alam was picked up from his Dhandmondi residence on the night of August 5, in gross violation of the Appellate Division’s standing guidelines regarding arrests.
Kamal Hossain submitted that Shahidul Alam spent the whole night at the DB office handcuffed and blindfolded and in that condition he was humiliated and subjected to torture in violation of the Constitution.
He said that Shahidul Alam nose bled profusely after it was pounded and his panjabi was completely soaked in blood.
He submitted that after washing and drying the panjabi under the ceiling fan was forced to wear it during the rest of the first night.
He submitted that Shahidul was seen walking barefoot with support from policemen when he was produced at the Chief Metropolitan Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday afternoon with the prayer to allow the DB to take him on remand for 10 days for interrogations relating to a case that was filed against him just after he was picked up on suspicions that he made provocative propaganda against the government on his facebook post.
Kamal Hossain submitted that the magistrate allowed the DB to take Shahidul Alam in its custody for seven days for interrogation though he was in a critical condition due to torture.
He also submitted that the prayers of Shahidul Alam’s lawyers to grant him bail or send him to a hospital for treatment fell on the deaf ears of the magistrate.
The bench rebuked deputy attorney general Amit Talukder for opposing the order of sending Shahidul Alam to the BSMMU for treatment and seeking adjournment of the hearing until attorney general Mahbubey Alam could appear on Thursday.
‘Why do you oppose his treatment though his condition does not allow him to walk without support,’ the bench demanded to know from the DAG showing him newspaper photograph of barefoot Shahidul Alam walking with others’ support.
DAG Amit Talukder informed the court that while in custody Shahidul responding to DB’s question, ‘How long you will continue your propaganda against the government?’ Shahidul Alam allegedly replied, ‘Until the government falls.’
The DAG submitted that Shahidul Alam made false claims to the magistrate that he was tortured and mercilessly beaten up by the DB in its custody.
At this point, the bench demanded to know from the DAG, why a journalist and Ph D like Shahidul Alam would make a false statement.
The bench that the constitution does not permit torturing any citizen in custody even if he or she done something wrong.
Kamal Hossain submitted that the government was nether god nor above criticism.
He submitted that each and every citizen has the right to criticize the government.
Sara Hossain prayed for a directive to stop the tortures on Shahidul Alam.
The hearing over, Rahnuma Ahmed told reporters that the magistrate by sending Shahidul Alam in DB remand worried her.
‘Now I feel relief’, she said.
Lawyers Shahdeen Malik, Syeda Rizwana Hasan, Tanim Hossain Shawon, Jyotirmoy Barua and at least a dozen human rights activists were present at the hearing.