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Dhaka Tribune

2015: Remarkable for judiciary

Update : 30 Dec 2015, 09:05 PM

Execution of three top war criminals, quick verdicts in a number of much-talked criminal cases and some orders of the apex court on public interest issues made 2015 a memorable year for the judiciary.

After the appeals were rejected by the apex court, the government executed the three notorious war criminals – Mohammad Kamaruzzaman, Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid and Salauddin Quader Chowdhury.

On December 8, the Appellate Division completed hearing in the appeal case of death-row convict Jamaat-e-Islami chief Motiur Rahman Nizami for committing crimes against humanity during the Liberation War and set January 6 for pronouncing the verdict.

This year the International Crimes Tribunal pronounced verdicts in six cases filed against collaborators responsible for committing crimes against humanity during the war. On the other hand, the number of tribunals was reduced from two to one.

The Supreme Court also started hearing of death references and appeals in the 2009 BDR mutiny cases. A special court in 2013 sentenced 152 to death, 161 to life in prison and 256 others to different jail terms.

Verdicts were given at the shortest possible time over the brutal murder of two minor boys – Sheikh Samiul Alam Rajon in Sylhet and Rakib Hawlader in Khulna.

O Level student Oishee Rahman was sentenced to death for killing her parents – police officer Mahfuzur Rahman and his wife Swapna Rahman, whereas Parimal Joydhar, a former teacher of Viqarunnisa Noon School and College, got life in prison in a rape case.

The legal battle of Disaster Management Minister Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya and the top court’s imposing a ban on broadcast and publication of comments made by BNP Vice-Chairman Tarique Rahman were also discussed all over the country.

On February 8, a Speedy Trial Tribunal in Dhaka sentenced five activists of Bangladesh Chhatra League’s Jahangirnagar University unit to death and six others to life-term imprisonment for killing Zubair Ahmed, a student of English department, in 2012.

The same court on December 18, 2013 handed down death penalty for eight Chhatra League activists of Jagannath University unit and life-term jail for 13 others for killing Bishwajit Das, an Old Dhaka tailor, near the Judge’s Court on December 9, 2012. The appeals filed by the convicts were not heard in the outgoing year.

Year 2015 also saw a number of murders and attacks on secular writers and publishers. But charges were pressed only in two cases, filed over the murders of Oyasiqur Rahman Babu and Prof AKM Shafiur Rahman.

In July, detectives pressed murder charges against Awami League lawmaker Pinu Khan’s son Bakhtiar Alam Rony in a case filed over the murder of two people in Eskaton. Rony was under the influence of alcohol at that time.

In October, ruling party lawmaker Manjurul Islam Liton was arrested in a case filed for shooting a child under the influence of alcohol at Sundarganj of Gaibandha.

Former Awami League leader Abdur Latif Siddique moved to the High Court to save his parliament membership but his appeal was turned down. He also lost his cabinet post and party membership following his remarks on Hajj, Ijtema and the prime minister’s son.

In another move, the High Court ruled that no one can be “forced” to consume the Brazilian wheat imported by the government. Bangladesh Police refused to receive the wheat claiming that it was substandard for humans to consume.

In May, the High Court directed the government to stop the spread of pornography contents by mobile phone content providers and in social media immediately.

The use of section 57 of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Act was another matter of debate this year. The top court rejected all the writ petitions filed challenging the provision terming it contradictory with the constitution. However, in the face of severe criticisms, the government announced that they would revise the law.

The High Court in another order opined that the investigating authorities of the Narayanganj seven-murder case could launch a further probe after one of the victims’ family members moved to the court challenging the charge sheet filed by detectives.

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