BNP leader Annie alleges brutal torture in police custody

Police escort BNP leaders Shahid Uddin Chowdhury Annie to a court in Dhaka on 11 October 2023.
Khaled Sarkar

BNP central publicity secretary Shahid Uddin Chowdhury Annie has alleged in the court that he has been beaten up in the police station after being arrested from his house.

He made the allegation at the chief metropolitan magistrate court of Dhaka on Wednesday during hearing on a remand petition in a case filed over a sabotage at the Dhanmondi police station.  

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Shahid Uddin Chowdhury Annie said police arrested him breaking the door of house and became emotional while describing his torture at the court. He also burst into tears.

About the arrest, breaking the door at midnight, Shahid Uddin Chowdhury in the court said, "I was a member of parliament twice. I have reached this stage doing student politics. I attended an event at the press club. Police could have arrested me from there. Why did the police carry out an operation at my house at midnight?"

Alleging that his house was vandalised, the BNP leader in the court said, "My child was at the house. I have been arrested as the door of my house was broken forcefully. I am neither a thief nor a robber. After bringing me to the police station, I have been beaten up mercilessly. I want justice."

After the deliberation, Shahid Uddin Chowdhury became emotional. He started crying.

Shahid Uddin told the court, "Do the police have the right to assault anyone? Police tortured me. People cannot beat thieves and robbers this way.

Police produced Shahid Uddin Chowdhury Annie before a court of Dhaka at 2:00pm on Wednesday. Huge number of police were deployed in front of Dhaka Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Court.

After staying for about an hour at the prison of Dhaka CMM court, Shahid Uddin Chowdhury Annie with police escort was produced in the courtroom.

He sat on a bench in the courtroom. Later, magistrate Rashedul Alam arrived.

In presence of judges, police requested Shahid Uddin Chowdhury Annie to go to the iron cage for the accused.

Shahid Uddin Chowdhury Annie's lawyer Omar Faruk told the court that the BNP leader is sick. He has undergone bypass surgery. He is unable to walk.

The court said Shahid Uddin Chowdhury Annie will go to the dock of the accused. His sitting will be arranged. Later Shahid Uddin Chowdhury Annie went to the dock made of iron for the accused. Police gave him a chair and he sat there.

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Investigation officer and Dhanmondi police station sub inspector Shahidi Hasan in the court placed arguments why Shahid Uddin Chowdhury Annie should be put on remand.

The police officer told the court that on 23 May while leaving after the concluding speech at the road march programme, around 10,000 to 15,000 leaders and activists of BNP and its associate bodies unleashed violence in front of City College in the capital.

Shahid Uddin Chowdhury Annie was present there. At his instigation, BNP leaders and activists with arms carried out attacks on police, blasted cocktails and vandalised vehicles. Later, Dhaka metropolitan sessions judge court chief public prosecutor Abdullah Abu placed more arguments in favour of remand of Annie.

On the other hand, Shahid Uddin Chowdhury Annie's lawyer filed petitions seeking bail cancelling remand. His lawyer Mosleh Uddin told the court that BNP leader Shahid Uddin was a member of parliament for two times. He is sick. He is a patient of bypass surgery. There is no logic to put him on remand.

Lawyer Omar Faruk told the court that BNP leader Shahid Uddin did not flee. Why was he arrested at midnight by breaking the door of his house? Is it a crime to do politics? After his arrest, he has been tortured.

Refuting the allegation, PP Abdullah Abu said to the court, "Police didn't torture BNP leader Shahid Uddin Chowdhury Annie. Allegation of torturing him is not true."

However, Shahid Uddin Chowdhury Annie described to the court about the infliction of torture on him.

After hearing the statements of two sides, the court granted a four-day remand of Shahid Uddin Chowdhury Annie.

Pro-BNP lawyers in the court chanted slogans demanding release of Shahid Uddin Chowdhury Annie.