The court asks the government to make guideline, IGP to take action against Barguna SP
The High Court has grantedbail to Ayesha Siddika Minni in a case filed over the murder of her husband Rifat Sharif, on conditions that she will remain in her father’s custody and cannot talk to media.
The court also said if she violated the conditions, her bail would be cancelled.
The court, which was annoyed at the superintendent of police in Barguna, Maruf Hossain, for announcing before the media that Minni had confessed to being involved in Rifat’s murder, asked the government to formulate a guideline on how much information they can reveal before the press about an arrested person’s involvement in a case while the investigation is in progress.
The High Court granted the bail considering several situations: Minni’s name was not included in the FIR (First Information Report) of the case; she was detained for a long time in the local police lines before arrest, she was not allowed to appoint a lawyer for herselfbeforeshe was produced before the court; and and the Barguna SP said Minni had been involved in the killing of Rifat before her confession to a magistrate.
The court said the Barguna SP’s statement on Minni’s involvement in her husband’s murder does not have sufficient proof.
After the bail order, Minni’s father Mozammel Hossain Kishor told the media: “I am happy that justice has prevailed. Everything that the conspirators are doing has come to light.”
Minni was forced and tortured by police to record the confessional statement, with local powerful political leaders behind the scene, he alleged.
Advocate ZI Khan Panna, Minni’s lawyer, said she has been granted bail, but she is not allowed to speak to the press.
Deputy Attorney General Sarwar Hossain Bappi told the media that the state would file a regular leave to appeal against the order.
The High Court on August 20 issued a ruling asking the government to explain within a week why Minni should not be granted bail in the case.
The High Court, on the same day, issued a show-cause notice against the Barguna SP to explain why he briefed the media on Minni’s involvement in the murder before recording her confessional statement.
The High Court also ordered Barguna Sadar police station Inspector Md Humayun Kabir, who is investigating the case, to submit all documents on Thursday.
A day before Minni made a confessional statement while on remand, Barguna Superintendent of Police Maruf Hossain, at a news briefing, said she had confessed to her guilt in the murder.
The judges ordered the government to provide a written statement about the briefing.
Rifat was hacked to death on June 26 on a Barguna road in front of Minni. A video of Minni's desperate attempts to save her husband went viral on social media.
The following day, Rifat’s father Dulal Sharif filed a murder case accusing 12 people.
The case took a dramatic turn after Dulal pointed fingers at Minni. She was interrogated at the Barguna SP’s office.
She was later arrested as “initial evidence” pointed to her involvement in the killing, the SP said.
The court’s observation
The High Court bench observed that the Barguna SP came to the media while accused Ayesha Siddika Minni was in remand. He said Minni had admitted to her involvement.The SP's statement is not only unwanted, but also against the fair and neutral investigation, the court said.
Whatever the situation and reality, as the responsible official of police such statement of the SP raise many questions in the minds of the public. Such activity is unexpected and undesirable from him as he is a high official of police. He will execute his duty more carefully and professionally in future, the court observed.
As the case investigation is ongoing, the court is abstaining to make any final decision on this matter. But the inspector general of police will consider the matter and take necessary action in time.
It is often noticed that, law enforcers hold press briefings regarding sensational cases which are under investigation. They also disclose various information regarding the accused and the investigations before the media, although this court had issued an order against such practices, the court said in its observations.
“It has been seen that many police officers make speeches in excitement. It should be remembered by all of us that nobody can be called as offender before he is proved guilty,” the court said. “A guideline is necessary about how much information should be published or broadcast about advancement of investigation or about arrested persons when the case is at the investigation stage. The inspector general of police is directed to formulate and publish the guideline.”