DSA case: JnU student Khadija in jail for 8 months

Digital Security ActProthom Alo illustration

Khadijatul Kubra, a student of Jagannath University, has been languishing in jail for nearly eight months as the police sued her in two cases under the Digital Security Act (DSA).

The trial court denied her bail petition two times. Later, the High Court granted bail to Khadija in February, but the chamber judge stayed the bail responding to a petition by the state.

Jyotirmoy Barua, lawyer of Khadijatul Kubra, told Prothom Alo that his client secured bail from the High Court on 16 February, but the chamber judge stayed the order. Now, a full bench of the Appellate Division will hear the petition.

In 2020, the police sued Khadija and Major (retd) Delwar Hossain in Kalabagan and New Market police stations in Dhaka under the DSA, on allegations of spreading anti-government statements and tarnishing the country’s image. The second case was filed a week after the first one, with the same allegation.

According to the case statements, both the plaintiffs – sub inspectors (SI) Khairul Islam and Arif Hossain – noticed a video of Khadija and Delwar while browsing YouTube on their smartphones and it prompted them to file the lawsuits.

SI Khairul Islam of New Market police station said he saw the video at 6:25 am on 11 October 2020. Khadija was hosting a show titled ‘Humanity for Bangladesh’ where Delwar Hossain issued various instructions to overthrow the legit democratic government of Bangladesh.

The case was recorded at 8:10am, with three pages of screenshots and a CD of the YouTube show.

It was alleged in the case that Khadija and Delwar have long been spreading fictitious, fabricated, false, and defamatory statements against the prime minister, various government agencies, and important personalities of the state in an effort to topple the legitimate government.

The accused are trying to destroy the communal harmony through their conspiracy of creating enmity and hatred among different communities.

Eight days later, SI Arif Hossain filed the second case, stating that he saw the video at 9:15 pm on 19 October when he was browsing YouTube on his smartphone. He filed the case immediately at around 11:30 pm on the day.

Later, the police investigated the two cases and pressed charges against Khadijatul Kubra and Delwar Hossain in May last year. The cyber tribunal of Dhaka took the charges to its cognizance and issued arrest warrants against the duo.

According to the case documents, Khadijatul Kubra was arrested on 17 September. The lawyer filed a petition for her bail and formally informed the court that his client has been suffering from kidney stones. He also attached supportive medical documents to the application.

Defending his client, the lawyer said in the High Court that she is completely innocent and the case is filed to harass her.

Monira Khatun, sister of Khadija, said they were not aware of the case against Khadija when the police arrested her from their residence in Mirpur of Dhaka in the night. She has been suffering from physical ailments.