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HC asks Home Secy

Examine whether Shahidul Alam was tortured

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Golam Rabbani :
The High Court (HC) on Thursday ordered the Home Secretary to make arrangements to examine detained Photo Journalist Shahidul Alam if he was tortured physically or mentally after arrest.
The HC Bench of Justice Syed Muhammad Dastagir Husain and Justice Md Iqbal Kabir passed the order after hearing a writ petition filed by Shahidul's wife Rahnuma Ahmed challenging the lower court order that placed him on a seven-day remand.
The medical tests will be conducted under Section 2(6) of Torture and Custodial Death (Prevention) Act, 2013.
The HC also directed the Home Secretary to submit a report to this effect in the lower court concerned by next Monday.
A Dhaka court on Monday, August 6, placed Shahidul Alam on a seven-day   remand in a case filed under the Section 57 of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Act on charges of spreading propaganda and false information against the government.
During a hearing of the case, Shahidul told the court that he was tortured in custody. However, police denied the allegation.
In response to a writ petition filed by Rahnuma Ahmed on Tuesday, the High Court directed authorities concerned to immediately send him to the BSMMU for examining Shahidul's physical condition and submit a report by 10:30 am Thursday. The court also fixed Thursday for further hearing on the petition.
As per the HC order, Shahidul Alam was taken to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University around 9:30 am Wednesday. But Shahidul Alam was taken back to the office of the Detective Branch of Police after doctors at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University found no major health issues that required admission into the hospital.
A four-member medical board headed by Professor A B M Abdullah, Dean of Medicine Department, found nothing mentionable, BSMMU Director Brigadier General Md Abdullah Al Harun told the journalists.
As per the HC directives, the BSMMU authority submitted the medical report in the court yesterday.
Protesting the medical report submitted by BSMMU authority one of the writ petitioner's lawyers Barrister Sara Hossain said that the writ petition was filed after Shahidul had been tortured after arrest.
 "The BMSSU authority examined only if he was ill or not, but they did not examine whether he was tortured physically or mentally after arrest," said Barrister Sara Hossain.
So, identifying the BMSSU report as an 'incomplete report', Barrister Sara demanded reexamination of Shahidul Alam's physical and mental condition.
After the court's order, Barrister Sara said, "The HC ordered the Home Secretary to make arrangements to examine detained Shahidul Alam if he was tortured physically or mentally after arrest according to the Section 2(6) of Torture and Custodial Death (Prevention) Act, 2013. And the Home Secretary will submit the report in the court on Monday next."
The section 2(6) of the act stipulates : "Torture means any physical or psychological torture that hurts, in addition to following acts a) Extorting any information or confession from the person or any other person; b) Punishing any suspected person or any offender; c) Intimidating any person or any other person through him; d) Any work done on a discriminatory basis, in each case, act done with someone's provocation, with someone's consent or by dint of the power of any government officer or government power."
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court yesterday kept pending till August 13 a petition filed against the High Court order that directed the authorities to send detained Shahidul Alam to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University for his treatment.

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