13 more cases against Mahfuz Anam

Mahfuz Anam
Mahfuz Anam

Thirteen more cases were filed against the Daily Star editor Mahfuz Anam in a single day on Sunday for carrying reports based on information supplied by the army intelligence DGFI during military-backed regime in 2007-08.

Of the cases, 12 were filed against Mahfuz Anam in Sylhet, Khulna, Netrakona, Patuakhali, Rangamati, Shariatpur, Jamalpur and Dinajpur districts while a defamation lawsuit was filed against him in capital Dhaka.

Defamation charges were brought against Mahfuz Anam in 10 cases while two others were for treason and one for criminal offence.

Complainants in five cases claimed a total of Tk 10,205 crore in compensation for damages.

All the 13 cases were filed by leaders and activists of ruling Awami League, its student wing Bangladesh Chhatra League and pro-government organisations.

The court summoned Mahfuz Anam in six defamation lawsuits. With the 13 cases filed Sunday, a total of 18 lawsuits have so far been filed against Mahfuz Anam.

Earlier on 9 and 11 February, five cases were filed against him by local BCL leaders in Lakshmipur, Khulna, Gopalganj and Cox’s Bazar.

Expressing his concern over so many cases against the editor of the Daily Star, Barrister Rafique-ul Haque told Prothom Alo that this was not good. This amounted to an attack on the freedom of speech and press freedom.

At a talk show on a private TV channel on 3 February, Mahfuz Anam made an introspective comment about a lapse in his editorial judgement in publishing some reports that the newspaper could not independently verify during the last caretaker government’s tenure.

Since then, defamation and sedition lawsuits have been being filed one after another across the country against the Daily Star editor mainly by ruling party leaders and workers. And, the language of the complaints was almost the same saying that Mahfuz Anam published false and distorted stories against AL president Sheikh Hasina to serve the purposes of a force that led AL president spend days in prison.

The organising secretary of Bangladesh Projonmo League’s central committee filed a libel case with the court of metropolitan magistrate in Dhaka, claiming Tk 10,000 crore in compensation for publishing unverified news “against Awami League president Sheikh Hasina during the 2007-08 tenure of the caretaker government”.

After the hearing, the court ordered the officer-in-charge of Mugda police station to investigate the matter and take necessary action.

Information and research secretary of Barguna district Awami League lawyer Mujibul Haque filed a defamation case against Mahfuz Anam accusing him of libel and tarnishing the image of Sheikh Hasina and AL. The case was filed with the district court seeking Tk 50 lakh in compensation. The court fixed 22 February for the next hearing.


Three more defamation cases were filed against the Daily Star editor with the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate court of the district.

District unit BCL former president Nurul Amin Kotwal, Awami Muktijodhdha Projanma League central organization secretary Hasibul Islam and Jajira upazila BCL general secretary Hanif Miah filed the cases.

Plaintiff Nurul Amin’s lawyer Tajul Islam said, he court asked the police to probe into one case and summoned Mahfuz Anam to be present in the court on 4 April in two other cases.


Two defamation cases were filed against the editor for the same reason. Khulna district BCL office secretary M Taslim Hossain Taj filed a Tk-10 crore case against Mahfuz Anam with the cognizance court-1 of Khulna chief metropolitan magistrate Aeysha Akhter Mousumi while district BCL joint secretary M Parvez Hawladar filed another Tk-5 crore defamation case with the cognizance court-1 of Khulna chief judicial magistrate court M Manzur Hossain.

Later, the chief judicial magistrate issued a warrant for the arrest of Mahfuz and fixed 29 March for the next hearing.

Khulna chief metropolitan magistrate Ayesha Akhter Mousumi asked sadar police officer-in-charge to submit a report after an investigation.


Law affairs secretary of Khansama upazila AL unit lawyer Shamsur Rahman Parvez filed a defamation case with additional chief judicial magistrate court of Ahsanul Haque.

The court recorded the compliant and asked Mahfuz Anam to be present in the court on 14 June.


Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) Sylhet city unit president Abdul Basit Rumman and former president of the unit Rahat Tarafder filed two defamation cases, each of Tk 100 crore, with the court of chief metropolitan magistrate Saifuzzaman Hiro.

The court summoned Mahfuz Anam and fixed 30 March for the next hearing.


Kaptai upazila Jubo League president Nasir Uddin filed a defamation case against Mahfuz Anam with the court of Rangamati chief judicial magistrate Saifuddin Khaled.

Magistrate Shams Uddin Khaled ordered Rangmati kotwali OC to investigate the issue and submit a report by 31 March.


A sedition case was filed against the editor with the court of additional chief judicial magistrate Alamgir Kabir Shipon.

District public prosecutor Golam Mohammad Khan Pathan filed the case under section 120(k), 124(k) and 501 of the penal code.

After recording the initial statement of complainant, the court asked the Netrakona Model police OC to submit a preliminary report before the court by 6 March.

Eminent lawyer barrister Rafiqul Haque said, “Filing so many cases against a man is insane. No comment can be made without verifying the legal basis of these cases. It is a matter of concern as to whose image is being tarnished and who is filing the cases.”

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