Friday, 26 August 2011

Supreme Court lawyer died in police custody: severe torture alleged, judicial probe demaned

Failing to bear alleged torture in police custody, detained pro-BNP lawyer Advocate Mamtaz Uddin Ahmed died on Friday after passing 15 days in critical condition in Bangladesh.

MU Ahmed, 57, died at 1 pm at Square Hospital in the city. He fell in a massive heart attack short after police picked him up from his Segunbagicha residence at 1:30 am on August 11 in two separate police cases.

His wife Selina Ahmed said he was quite well when police arrested him and alleged against law enforcers of severely torturing him while police claimed that he suffered heart attack after arrest.

Hearing information of his death, pro-BNP lawyers rushed to the hospital and blocked road in its front for about five hours protesting they said killing of MU Ahmed through police torture.

Sources said the pro-BNP lawyers were taking preparation to file killing case in this connection. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina might be accused in the case, said the source.

Attorney General Mahbubey Alam was confined at the hospital by the pro-BNP lawyers when he went there see body of MU Ahmed. Later, AG Alam escaped himself taking police protection through basement door.

MU Ahmed’s wife Selina Ahmed and his two children of 12 and 9 ages were seen thunderstruck at the hospital. Selina Ahmed has said in frustration that how her two children will continue their study in absence of their father, who would afforded earlier.

After arrest, police admitted MU Ahmed to Dhaka Medical College Hospital on August 11 morning and then shifted him to National Institute of Cardiovascular Disease on the day.

He was transferred to the square hospital on August 16 under his family initiative. He was taking treatment under police custody and at his family cost, source said.

Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) at a press briefing on August 16 demanded of the government to provide better treatment abroad to MU Ahmed.

Upon his wife Selina Ahmed’s petition, the HC on August 21 asked the government to explain within four weeks as to why it should not be directed to send MU Ahmed abroad for better treatment and to disclose names of the law enforcers involved in arresting the lawyer.

It also directed the government to bear cost of the lawyer’s treatment. The government was asked to bear at least the cost needed to treat MU Ahmed at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU).

The detained lawyer was in the square hospital till his death yesterday (August 26).

Following a scuffle at a High Court (HC) bench on August 2, police filed the two cases on August 2 and 3 on charge of assaulting and obstructing them in discharging their duties on the HC premises.

 A HC bench comprising Justice AHM Shamsuddin Chowdhury and Gobinda Chandra Tagore witnessed the scuffle as the pro-Awami League and pro-BNP lawyers locked into a skirmish there following some observations of the bench’s senior judge about the opposition leader Begum Khaleda Zia during hearing on alleged derogatory remarks of Mufti Fazlul Haque Amini on the constitution.

On the following day, the same bench banned 13 pro-BNP lawyers, including MU Ahmed, from practicing in any court of the country for their alleged disrespect to the judges.

Later, the accused pro-BNP lawyers, except MU Ahmed, secured pardon from the bench and bail from the lower in the police cases. Detained MU Ahmed was neither pardoned nor granted bail as no petition on his behalf was possible to file due to his critical condition.

MU Ahmed left behind his wife Selina Ahmed, two sons-- SM Ahamed Shuvo, 12, student of standard-VI, and Sher Sabbir Ahmed Babor, 9, student of standard-III – colleagues in legal profession and a host of well wishers to mourn his death.

First namaz-e-janaza of MU Ahmed will be held at the High Court premises at 11 am today (Saturday). Later, his body will be taken to the National Press Club, where different organisations will pay respect to him. The body will also be taken in front of BNP office at the Purana Paltan.

After that, his body will be carried at his village Boalkandi under Sherpur upazila of Bogra district. There, he will be buried after another namaz-e-janaza.

Meanwhile, opposition BNP has decided to stage demonstration across the country today (Saturday) to protest what it said the killing of MU Ahmed. While pro-BNP lawyers will also gerao the buildings of courts across the country tomorrow (Sunday), BNP joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi Ahmed said.

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