The High Court (HC) yesterday directed the inspector general of police (IGP) not to present crime ac-cused before the media until they are produced in court.
The HC bench comprising Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice Amir Hossain came up with the ob-servation while delivering a verdict in a case relating to a bomb blast case. The bomb was blasted by a member of Jamaa’tul Mujaheedin Bangladesh (JMB) at a press conference in Gazipur six years ago.
In its order, the HC bench observed that the IGP should take initiatives so that an accused is not pro-duced before the media prior to producing them before the court.
This is the second directive from a High Court bench to the police for not bringing any crime accused before the media until they are produced in court.
Earlier, on December 11, 2012, a HC bench of Justice AHM Shamsuddin Choudhury Manik, now retired, and Justice Farid Ahmed directed the law enforcers not to expose detained or arrested persons in any case before the media, saying such acts are illegal and unconstitutional.
Asked to comment on the High Court directives, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal yesterday told The Independent that his ministry would take initiatives to implement the HC order.
“We will take effective steps to implement the High Court order,” he said.
It may be mentioned that in its 2012 order, the HC also observed that there would be no restrictions on the police allowing journalists to collect news and photographs of the arrestee/s and the accused for public information but the arrestee/s and the accused ‘must not be placed before media for any kind of confession’ and no sticker should be hung or attached to the body of the arrestee/s and the accused in any manner so that the accused could be presumed guilty or convicted.
The HC bench came up with the order and rule in 2012 after holding hearing on a petition filed as public interest litigation by Akil-Uz-Zaman, an apprentice lawyer, challenging legality of the law enforcers’ act of producing detainees before the media.
The court also issued a rule upon the law-enforcement authorities to explain in two weeks why they should not be directed to not take any statement from the detainees before the media.
Commenting on the issue, Attorney General Mahbubey Alam yesterday said the court order should be abided by for the sake of justice.
“Without producing the suspected criminals before the media, law enforcing personnel should submit the chargesheet of the cases. If the authorities concerned submit the chargesheet quickly, the trial pro-ceedings would conclude in a short time, which is a great benefit for the justice seekers,” he added.
He also observed that producing suspected criminals before the media does not beget any benefit for the law enforcers and said the practice should be stopped for the greater sake of justice.
“Everyone should follow the High Court order to ensure justice,” said the chief law officer of the state.
Meanwhile, in its verdict yesterday, the HC bench commuted death sentence of JMB member Mamunur Rashid alias Jahid to life imprisonment. The lower court, earlier, awarded him death sentence in con-nection with the case.
In 2009, JMB activist Mamunur Rashid alias Jahid blasted a bomb during a press conference at the office of Gazipur superintendent of police (SP). Later, on March 13 in 2012, the trial court in a verdict awarded him death penalty in the case.
After disposing of an appeal filed by Jahid against the trial court verdict, the HC commuted his death penalty to life term imprisonment yesterday.
It also observed that the IGP would take departmental action against the Investigation Officer (IO) of the case for his negligence in conducting the investigation of the case.
According to the case statement, Tongi police arrested four JMB men including Md Mamunur Rashid alias Jahid and recovered huge bomb making instruments and five grenades from their possession.
Later, Jahid blasted a grenade inside the office of Gazipur superintended of police when police came out of the office after conducting a press conference over their arrest.
The HC, in its verdict, expressed grave concern over that press conference conducted in presence of the JMB men where the grenades were also kept. The HC termed the press conference conducted by the police as ‘an irresponsible work’.
Deputy Attorney General Sheikh AKM Moniruzzaman Kabir and Assistant Attorney General Shohidul Islam were present on behalf of the state.