You’ve turned country into hell, HC tells prosecution

High Court
File photo

“You’ve turned the country into hell,” remarked the High Court, addressing the state prosecution during the hearing of a case on Tuesday.

Justice Md Emdadul Hoque Azad said this during the hearing on the acceptability of an appeal filed by Adilur Rahman Khan, secretary to rights organisation Odhikar, and its director ASM Nasir Uddin.

A cyber tribunal in Dhaka sentenced Adilur and Nasir to two years imprisonment each in a case lodged under Section 57 of the Information and Communication Technology Act for an incident that took place a decade ago.

The court also fined them Tk 10,000 each, in default of which they will have to serve in jail for one more month.

Adilur and Nasir on 25 September filed an appeal against the sentences and sought bail. The matter was heard by a bench of the apex court.

AJ Mohammad Ali, Ruhul Amin Bhuiyan and Md Ahsanuzzaman Fahim were the defence lawyers while deputy attorney general Rezaul Karim represented the state in the court.

When the case was opened at the court, senior lawyer AJ Mohammad Ali went before the dais (where lawyers stand during the hearing).

The deputy attorney general stood up from his seat and said, ”We also have something to say.”

Addressing the deputy attorney general, the court then said, “Let them speak first. Why are you jumping from your seat so early? … You’ve turned the country into hell.”

Later, AJ Mohammad Ali said the appellants have been jailed for two years each and fined Tk 10,000 in a case filed under the ICT Act.

“Why?” the court asked. To this, AJ Mohammad Ali said, “The sentences were handed under section 57 (2).

Then the court asked, “Did you file for bail?” AJ Mohammad Ali responded positively.

Taking part in the hearing, deputy attorney general Rezaul Karim said there is an allegation of spreading misinformation, negative propaganda and rumours against them (Adilur and Nasir).

The court then asked the deputy attorney general, “Why did you then award them a truncated sentence? They should have been given life-time imprisonment. Why did you sentence them to just two years?”

Later, the court accepted the appeal of Adilur and Nasir for hearing and at the same time, postponed the fine order and granted bail to them.

Concerned lawyers said there is no legal barrier for release of Adilur and Nasir as a result of the High Court order.

The case was filed against Adilur and Nasir on charges of spreading false reports and misinformation about the operation carried out by the law enforcement agencies at a rally of Hefazat-e-Islam at Shapla Chattar in Dhaka on 5 May in 2013.