POST TIME: 9 August, 2018 11:59:34 PM / LAST MODIFIED: 10 August, 2018 08:03:27 AM
HC asks govt to examine if Shahidul was tortured
His statements seditious: AG

HC asks govt to examine if Shahidul was tortured

The High Court  (HC) yesterday (Thursday) ordered the home secretary to make arrangements for further examination whether noted detained photographer Shahidul Alam was tortured physically or mentally in the custody of the Detective Branch. It asked the home secretary to conduct the medical tests in accordance with Section 2 (6) of Torture and Custodial Death (Prevention) Act, 2013.

The HC also asked the home secretary to submit the health examination report to the trial court by Monday.

An 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-day 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, managing director of Drik Gallery, made during the student movement was

tantamount to sedition. He said steps would be taken against him after the investigation report is submitted, if anything is found to be seditious.

After a brief hearing on the writ petition, the HC bench had, on Tuesday (August 7), directed the authorities concerned to immediately send Shahidul to the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) for examining his physical condition and submit a report by 10:30am on Thursday.

The four BSMMU physicians conducted his health examination and submitted the medical report to the court, where they observed that “no abnormality was detected” in Shahidul’s body.

During the hearing on the petition, Barrister Sara Hossain, counsel for Shahidul, raised objection on the report, saying it only mentions about Shahidul’s physical condition. The physicians did not examine whether Shahidul was tortured in custody, physically or mentally, and there was no psychiatrist on the panel.

A group of plainclothes policemen picked up Shahidul from his residence at Dhanmondi in Dhaka late on Sunday night.

Shahidul was detained hours after he had given an interview to the Doha-based television channel, Al Jazeera, regarding students’ movement.

On August 6, a Dhaka court placed Shahidul on a seven-day remand in a case filed under the controversial Section 57 of the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Act, on charges of carrying out propaganda and spreading false information against the government.

The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court yesterday adjourned till August 13 hearing on an appeal filed by the government against the High Court order. The HC order had directed the authorities to send detained photographer Shahidul Alam to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University for 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 was scheduled to hear yesterday the writ petition challenging the remand order against Shahidul.

In response to the writ petition filed by Shahidul’s wife, Rahnuma Ahmed, the HC on Tuesday directed the authorities concerned to send Shahidul to the BSMMU for treatment and medical tests.

As per the court order, Shahidul Alam was taken to the BSMMU yesterday, but he was taken back to the office of the Detective Branch of the police after doctors said they found no health issues requiring his hospitalisation. The government, on Wednesday, also filed an appeal before the Supreme Court, seeking a stay on the HC order. The Supreme Court will hear the appeal on Sunday.