August 13, 2017
August 13, 2017
July 20, 2017
June 18, 2017
A Supreme Court lawyer on Sunday served a legal notice seeking arrest of prominent human rights activist and former advisor to the caretaker government Sultana Kamal within seven days for hurting religious sentiments of the Muslim majority in the country.
Advocate Zulfikar Ali Zunu served the notice to the inspector general of police (IGP) and the chairman of Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) saying Sultana has hurt Muslims with her “derogatory and irresponsible” comments, reports the Bangla Tribune.
According to the notice, the lawyer came to know that Sultana made “irresponsible” comments on the Muslims and Islam in spite of being an eminent person through social media and television. Her comments hurt the majority Muslims of Bangladesh and their faith.
The lawyer also said he served the notice on behalf of millions of Muslims of the country and requested the court to order law enforcement agencies to arrest Sultana Kamal within seven days.
Zunu also said that he took the step as a practicing Muslim and a lawyer of the highest court of the country.
June 16, 2017
Human rights groups have warned about the safety of a prominent Bangladeshi lawyer after Islamist leaders threatened to “break every bone” in her body for defending the installation of a Lady Justice statue outside the country’s supreme court.
Sultana Kamal’s remarks on a television talk show last month have earned her death threats from Muslim hardliners in Bangladesh, where religious fanatics are suspected to have killed 30 activists and writers among others in the past four years.
Kamal, the chair of anti-corruption group Transparency International Bangladesh, appeared in a televised debate in May about a Lady Justice statue that was installed outside the supreme court building last year.
Islamist groups including the hardline Hefazat-e-Islam campaigned to have the statue torn down on the grounds that its presence was an example of idol worship, forbidden in Islam.
During the debate, a Hefazat leader argued the statue was a religious object, and therefore had no place outside the supreme court of the country, which has been officially secular since it broke away from Pakistan in 1971. Kamal responded that by the same logic, “no mosques should be on the premises either”.
In response, Hefazat called for Kamal to be arrested or exiled within 24 hours. A senior leader of the organisation warned her: “If you come out to the streets, we will break every bone in your body.”
Kamal told the Guardian the threat had triggered a wave of “abusive postings on Facebook”, including images doctored to show the activist being lynched.
June 13, 2017
Seven international and regional civil society organisations have expressed their deep concern over violent threats received by prominent lawyer and human rights activist Sultana Kamal. In a letter calling upon the Bangladesh authorities to conduct “credible investigation into threats of violence and ensure protection of Sultana Kamal”, the organisations stated that she has received threats from the “radical Islamist group Hefazat-e-Islam” after expressing her views on a TV talk show.
Signed by the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA), Front Line Defenders, Amnesty International, South Asians for Human Rights, Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development, the Association for Progressive Communications and International Service for Human Rights, the letter stated that on 28 May, Sultana Kamal, Hefazat representative Mufti Sakhawat Hossain and others, appeared on a TV talk show to discuss the removal of the lady justice sculpture from the Supreme Court premises. Hefazat-e-Islam had insisted the statue needed to be dismantled on 26 May, arguing that it would lead to idol worship which went against the tenets of Islam.
During the talk show, Sultana said that if no religious structure was permitted, then no mosques should be on the premises either. Reacting to this statement, Hefazat demanded her arrest within 24 hours. A Hefazat leader stated ‘we will break every bone in [her] body.’ Sultana received various other threats, including on social media. A person even posted a photo of Sultana Kamal, edited to look like she was being hanged.
https://www.amnesty.org.au/act-now/iar839-sultana-kamal/ (AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL URGENT PETITION – PLEASE SIGN!)
June 8, 2017
On 2 June 2017, human rights defender, Sultana Kamal, was publicly threatened with arrest, exile and violence by radical group Hefazat-e-Islam Dhaka City Committee, who willfully misrepresented the comments she made during a talk show broadcast on the private news channel News 24.
Sultana Kamal is a human rights defender and lawyer known for her work on civil and political as well as gender rights. She served as the Executive Director of Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK), a legal aid and human rights organisation in Bangladesh for over 15 years. In addition to that, she is the Chairperson of the We Can End Violence Against Women Alliance, Chairperson for Transparency International Bangladesh and also Co-chairperson for the Chittagong Hill Tracts Commission.
In its recent investigative report, Front Line Defenders found Bangladeshi authorities systematically refuse to investigate attacks, killings and threats against human rights defenders, and called the country a “lethal environment for HRDs who advocate for human rights-related reforms to which those pushing a fundamentalist Islamic agenda are opposed.”
On 2 June 2017, Hefazat-e-Islam Dhaka City Committee called for the arrest of Sultana Kamal and threatened her with violence following a TV show in which she participated. Discussing the removal of a sculpture representing Lady Justice from the Supreme Court premises, Sultana Kamal argued with Hefazat-e-Islam representative, Mufti Sakhawat Hossain, that if the group’s position was that no religious edifice should be put in the court premises, by the same argument the mosque that is inside the premises should not be there either. After the talk show, Hefazat’s Vice-President Junayed Al-Habib claimed Sultana Kamal had called for the removal of all mosques from the country and demanded her arrest within 24 hours. Members of the organisation threatened her with violence and said she would share the same fate as author, Taslima Nasrin, who has been in exile since 1994 due to her human rights advocacy. Dhaka Metropolitan Police Ramna Division and the Detective Branch declared on 5 June they had taken joint measures for providing protection to Sultana Kamal. However, the human rights defender said that the law enforcement agency merely spoke to her and said that they are keeping a close eye on her neighborhood as part of their protection effort.
March 22, 2017
A court yesterday jailed 15 lawyers including the general secretary of Satkhira District Bar Association for going on the rampage at Satkhira Women and Children Repression Prevention Court in 2013.
Judge Md Habibullah Mahmud of the Speedy Trial Tribunal, Satkhira jailed each of them for two and a half years and fined them each Tk 5,000, in default of which they would have to spend six more months behind bars.
The lawyers handed down punishment include former president of the district bar advocate Shah Alam, former general secretary advocate Abdus Sattar, General Secretary advocate Tozammel Hossain Toza and advocate Mostafa Asaduzzaman.
The lawyers appealed against the verdict yesterday afternoon and the Court of District and Sessions Judge granted them all an interim bail, said Public Prosecutor Abdul Gani.
Advocates Sarder Saif and Shaheduzzaman have been acquitted in the case.
Court sources said equipped with sticks, the convicted lawyers along with court staff on November 18, 2013 ransacked the doors and windows of the Women and Children Repression Prevention Tribunal and created panic among justice-seekers.
Tribunal Judge Md Fakhruddin filed a case against 17 lawyers with Sadar police the same day.
Sub-inspector SM Humayun Kabir investigated the incident and pressed charges against the 17 lawyers. The court framed charges against them on August 3, 2014.