The High Court on Tuesday, scrapped a mobile court's sentencing of a ninth-grader, Sabbir Shikder from Tangail with two years' imprisonment for allegedly threatening a local lawmaker on Facebook.
The bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice Ashish Ranjan Das also acquitted Sabbir of all charges declaring the mobile court's sentencing illegal.
The verdict came following closing arguments by lawyers on both sides concluded Tuesday on a suo moto rule issued by the court on September 20. A lawyer Khurshid Alam Khan brought the incident to the High Court's notice, first published on an English newspaper.
The news report said that the boy was sentenced to prison for threatening Tangail 8 lawmaker Anupam Shajahan Joy on Facebook, under the controversial section 57 of the ICT Act.
The court also asked to consider Sabbir's statement given on September 27 describing the torture inflicted on him. Tangail's chief judicial magistrate will conduct a inquiry into the incident on the basis of that statement. It also ordered to withdraw Sakhipur Upazila Nirbahi Officer Mohammad Rafiqul Islam, who conducted the mobile court, and officer-in-charge of Sakhipur police Mohammad Maksudul Alam for the sake of investigation.
The court asked the Home secretary, public administration secretary and inspector general of police to comply with the orders.
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Earlier on September 20, the same High Court bench had asked all the parties involved with the incident to appear before it with explanations. The boy also asked to appear to describe the incident before the court. The court also granted permanent bail to the boy.
Sabbir testified that plainclothes police picked him up from home on the night of September 16 and took him to the police station. There the OC showed him a mobile phone and asked what had he written on it. When he denied having written that, he was blindfolded, beaten up and threatened to with “accidentally” getting caught in a crossfire. He then confessed under duress.
He was then taken to the lawmaker’s residence where he was beaten up again with sticks. Then to the UNO, who also kicked the boy before sentencing him. The schoolboy was sent to jail after he was convicted.
Earlier, the lawmaker filed a general diary (GD) alleging that someone threatened him on Facebook.
However, UNO’s lawyer had told the court that the schoolboy was sentenced for narcotics related offenses. He was caught and produced before the mobile court with marijuana. The OC's lawyer said media falsely reported the news to ruin tarnish the lawmaker's image.
Khurshid argued in front of the court that the GD was subjected to be investigated. A mobile court cannot sentence anyone for any offense under the ICT Act and when an investigation is pending. Khurshid also told the court that someone under the age of 18 should be tried under the Children Act, not by a mobile court.
Following Tuesday's verdict Khurshid said that the High Court found that the mobile court's sentencing was out of it's jurisdiction.
The boy told reporters that he wanted assurances of his family's safety.