HC orders govt to ascertain if Shahidul Alam was tortured

HC orders govt to ascertain if Shahidul Alam was tortured

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Dhaka, Aug 9 – The High Court on Thursday ordered the home secretary to make arrangements for further examining on whether noted detained photographer Shahidul Alam was tortured physically or mentally in the custody of detective branch. It asked the home secretary to conduct the medical tests in accordance with the Section 2 (6) of Torture and Custodial Death (Prevention) Act, 2013.
The HC bench also asked the home secretary to submit the health examination report to the trial court by Monday.
The HC bench comprising Justice Syed Muhammad Dastagir Husain and Justice Md Iqbal Kabir came up with the directive following a writ petition filed by Shahidul’s partner Rahnuma Ahmed.
The HC bench also disposed of the other part of the petition challenging the lower court order that placed him on seven days remand in connection with a case filed against him under section 57(2) of Information and Communications Technology Act.
Attorney general Mahbubey Alam alleged that the statement of Shahidul Alam made during the student movement was tantamount to the sedition.
He also said that steps would be taken against him after the investigation report, if there is anything found to be seditious.
After a brief hearing on the writ petition, the HC bench had on Tuesday (August 7) directed authorities concerned to immediately send Shahidul to the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) for examining Shahidul’s physical condition and submit a report by 10:30am by Thursday (yesterday).
The four BSMMU physicians conducted his health examination and submitted the medicial reports before the court where they observed ‘no abnormality detected’ in Shahidul body.
During the hearing on the petition, Barrister Sara Hossain, counsel for Shahidul, raised an objection to the report saying it only says of Shahidul’s physical condition and the physicals did not examine whether Shahidul was tortured in custody physically or mentally and there was no psychiatrist on the panel.
A band of plainclothes policemen picked up Shahidul from his Dhanmondi residence in Bangladesh capital Dhaka late Sunday night.
Shahidul was detained hours after he had given an interview to Doha-based television channel Al Jazeera regarding on-going students movement.
A Dhaka court had on August 6 placed Shahidul Alam on a seven-day remand in a case filed under the controversial Section 57 of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Act on charges of spreading propaganda and false information against the government.
Meanwhile, the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court yesterday adjourned till August 13 the hearing on an appeal filed by the government against the High Court order that directed the authorities to send detained photographer Shahidul Alam to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University for his treatment.
The four-member bench of the Appellate Division headed by Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain passed the order after Barrister Sara Hossain, a lawyer for Shahidul, informed the Supreme Court that the High Court is scheduled yesterday for hearing the writ petition filed challenging the remand order against Shahidul.
In response to the writ petition filed by Shahidul’s wife Rahnuma Ahmed, the High Court on Tuesday directed the authorities concerned to send Shahidul to BSMMU for his treatment and medical tests.
As per the court order, Shahidul Alam was taken to BSMMU yesterday but he was taken back to the office of the Detective Branch of police after doctors said they found no health issues requiring his hospitalisation.
The government on Wednesday also filed an appeal with the Supreme Court seeking a stay on the High Court order. The Supreme Court will hear on the government appeal on next Sunday. – Staff Reporter

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