• Monday, Oct 21, 2019
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Only 5% convictions in cyber cases related to children

  • Published at 11:25 pm July 10th, 2019
Minister for Posts and Telecommunications Mustafa Jabbar-Mahmud Hossain Opu-Dhaka Tribune
Minister for Posts and Telecommunications Mustafa Jabbar, second from left, speaks at the dialogue, organised by Ain O Salish Kendra (ASK), at the Centre on Integrated Rural Development for Asia and the Pacific (Cirdap) auditorium on Wednesday, July 10, 2019 Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

Terming the conviction rate in cases dealt under Cyber Crime Tribunal as very low, the Public Prosecutor (PP) advocate Nazrul Islam Shamim said, only 5% of such cases led to conviction

A dialogue among higher ups working in judicial, and investigating agencies of the country, has revealed the loopholes of the system leading to low convictions in cyber crime cases related to children. 

Terming the conviction rate in cases dealt under Cyber Crime Tribunal as very low, the Public Prosecutor (PP) advocate Nazrul Islam Shamim said, only 5% of such cases led to conviction.

Ain O Salish Kendra (ASK) organized the dialogue – Rights and Responsibilities of Internet Service Providers – to share, and draft the code of conduct on sexual exploitation of children online, and in travel and tourism industry, held at the Centre on Integrated Rural Development for Asia and the Pacific (Cirdap) auditorium on Wednesday. 

The PP said the court could not hand out many convictions in such types of cases, which is why a huge number of accused got released in the last one year period.

According to the PP, unwillingness to provide testimony in court, lengthy and improper procedures of taking testimony from the victims, fear of future identity exposure when children attain adulthood, and faulty investigation by law enforcement, are contributing much in this cause.

These complex procedures compel parents of such children to go for negotiations instead, so as to settle the case, and that results in the low number of convictions, he added.

Nazrul also said that lack of storage facilities at the tribunal, and having no device-analyzing department is also hindering the process.

The prosecutor said, the situation in recent times strongly dictates the need for cyber-space skilled officials who can investigate the cases properly.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Inspector General of police (DIG) Md Shah Alam, commandant of CID’s Forensic Training Institute (FTI), said, almost all the police stations in the country has at least one sub-inspector, and an inspector who have been given training in digital investigation.

He said that there are few surprising elements in the system, such as, the court shows that it has issued notice to the police but those do not reach. “There are some other things, such as this, in procedures that is not right, and needs to be fixed.”

Meanwhile, DMP Deputy Commissioner (women support and investigation unit) Farida Yasmin, also the head of victim support centre, said cases filed under Digital Security Act or ICT act are non-bailable.

“But we have experienced that the accused, after being arrested, get bail within a few days, and once again starts hammering the victims. We need to look into the loopholes through which the criminals are getting bail,” she added.

ASK Executive Director Shifa Hafiza said the Digital Security Act, 2018, Pronography Act 2012, ICT Act 2006 (amendment in 2013) does not address online abuse of children in any way. Besides, in case of giving out punishment to children who are accused in such cases, they are being treated as adults and not as juveniles.

Minister for Posts and Telecommunications Mustafa Jabbar said that the internet is widely used in the country in recent years, and hence there is a need to ensure a safe internet for children. 

“If we cannot provide security to our internet users, it would be a crime to even dream of a digital Bangladesh. And the government will do everything to ensure the safety of all,” he said.

Jabbar said: “We have two lackings in the Digital Security Act, 2018. One of the major issues we evaded was ‘security for personal data’ and the other which we intentionally avoided was the issue of child abuse online’.”

Several rights activists and experts from non-governmental organizations (NGOs), international non-governmental organizations (INGOs), and other top government officials were also present during the dialogue.

The recommendations 

1. Making NIDs compulsory for getting internet connections

2. Introducing parental control

3. Incorporating online child abuse in Digital Security Act

4. Preservation of access log of users at least for one year by ISP

5. Making document related to laws on online child abuse available in websites

6. Making investigators at police stations skilled to find digital evidence of offences

7. Initiating programs to create awareness among parents 

8. Establishing strong coordination among agencies, and ministries to combat cyber child abuse