Thursday, July 25, 2024

Fresh case to add 5 more charges

HC issues 8 directives for justice to the girl whipped to death, family
* Probe conflicting post-mortem reports, * Punish 2 culprit cops, * Run already-filed murder case, * Change investigation officer, * Campaign against fatwa, as a criminal offence, * Arrest perpetrators immediately, * Provide security to Hena’s family
The High Court yesterday issued eight directives for the government, including filing of a fresh case in connection with teenaged girl Hena Akter’s death by whipping following a fatwa in Shariatpur last month.
It ordered to bring five specific charges against the organisers of the fatwa, and to probe why there is a gulf of difference between two post-mortem reports.
Meanwhile, one of the main organisers of the deadly fatwa, Idris Ali Sheikh, was arrested by police from the HC premises yesterday, right after he appeared before the court responding to a summons.
An HC bench of Justice AHM Shamsuddin Chowdhury Manik and Justice Sheikh Md Zakir Hossain ordered the superintendent (SP) of Shariatpur police and the officer-in-charge of Naria Police Station to arrest all organisers of the illegal fatwa and the subsequent arbitration where Hena was whipped.
It ordered them to bring charges of rape, abduction, unlawful assembly, conspiracy, and torture against the accused; and to provide necessary security to Hena’s family.
The bench also ordered them to simultaneously proceed with the murder case filed by Hena’s father Darbesh Kha with Naria police on January 31.
It directed the inspector general of police (IGP) to take legal and departmental actions against sub-inspectors of Naria police — Mirza AK Azad and Aslam Uddin — for manipulating the first information report and the inquest report regarding Hena’s unnatural death.
The IGP was ordered to replace existing investigation officer Aslam Uddin with another police officer having the rank of at least an assistant superintendent of police.
The police chief was directed to submit a compliance report to the court within 15 days as well.
The court directed the health secretary, and the director general (DG) of the Directorate of Health to constitute a high-powered committee comprising DG Health, principal of Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH), director of the hospital, heads of the forensic departments of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medial University and Shuhrawardi Hospital, and joint secretaries of the law and home ministries to examine why the post-mortem reports prepared by Shariatpur Sadar Hospital and DMCH are diametrically different.
The committee will also examine whether the civil surgeon of Shariatpur, and the doctors of the hospital there, who prepared the first post-mortem report, committed any offence or were negligent in their duties.
The DG Health will have to submit a report to the HC within 30 days of receiving the order.
The court ordered the secretaries to the ministries of religious affairs and information to run a campaign at all mosques, madrasas, and union parishads across the country identifying fatwa as a criminal offence.
Hena, 15, was mercilessly whipped at a village arbitration following a fatwa on January 24 for allegedly having an illicit affair with her married cousin Mahbub, while her family kept insisting that she had actually been raped by the man. She died on January 31.
According to the second post-mortem done by DMCH, she died of extensive external and internal injuries.
The inquest report by Naria police and the first post-mortem by Shariatpur Sadar Hospital however had not found any mark of injury on Hena’s body right after her death.
The Daily Star in a news report on Feb 7 raised doubt about the reports from Shariatpur and Naria, which prompted the HC to issue a suo moto order the same day for exhumation of Hena’s body and a fresh post-mortem.
The body was exhumed that night and sent to DMCH. The next day a new post-mortem was done by DMCH which found extensive wounds on Hena’s body, and determined those were the cause of her death.
Yesterday’s HC ruling came after the new post-mortem report had been submitted to the court the day before.
A huge crowd of local and international journalists, human rights activists, and lawyers thronged the court yesterday to know about the new post-mortem.
Meanwhile, a Shariatpur court yesterday placed Mahbub Khan, the alleged rapist and the main accused in the existing case, on a five-day remand. He was arrested by Shariatpur police from Savar on Wednesday.
During yesterday’s hearing at the HC, Civil Surgeon of Shariatpur Golam Sarwar; doctors Nirmal Chandra Das, Rajesh Majumder, and Hosne Ara Begum of Shariatpur Sadar Hospital, who prepared the first post-mortem report; Sultan Ahmed, who attended Hena at that hospital; arbitrator Idris Ali Sheikh, who is also a member of the local union parishad; OC of Naria Police Station Abul Khair Fakir; Sub-inspector Aslam Uddin, who prepared the inquest report; Hena’s father Darbesh Kha; and her cousin Minu Begum appeared before the court responding to its summons.
Attorney General Mahbubey Alam, Additional Attorneys General MK Rahman and Murad Reza, Deputy Attorney General ABM Altaf Hossain, Assistant Attorney General Fazilatunnesa Bappy, and Advocate Seema Zahur assisted the court.

 

Via: The Daily Star

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