POST TIME: 15 March, 2019 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 15 March, 2019 01:42:32 AM
case against Shahidul
HC stays probe for three months

HC stays probe for
three months

The High Court (HC) yesterday stayed for three months the investigation into the case filed against internationally acclaimed photographer Shahidul Alam under the controversial Section 57 of the Information Communication and Technology (ICT) Act. The HC bench also issued a rule asking the authorities concerned why the case filed under Section 57, even after the law was abolished through formation of the Digital Security Act, should not be declared illegal.

In response to a writ petition, the HC bench of Justice Sheikh Hassan Arif and Justice Razik-Al-Jalil came up with the order and rule. On March 3, Shahidul moved the HC, challenging the legality of the case in which he was sent to jail for 107 days. He sought a stay on the proceedings, saying that it was filed against him “in violation of his fundamental rights and by abusing the process”.

During yesterday’s hearing, advocate AF Hasan Ariff, counsel for the petitioner, told the court that the case was filed against Shahidul under Section 57 of the ICT Act illegally as the section was done away with after formulation of the Digital Security Act. Hence, the investigation of the case should be stayed to ensure justice, he argued.

Attorney general Mahbubey Alam opposed the petition, saying the investigation against Shahidul cannot be disrupted until the lower court starts the trial proceedings of the case.

On August 5 last year, Shahidul, founder of Drik Gallery and Pathshala South Asian Media Institute, was picked up from his Dhanmondi home during

the demonstration for safe roads.

The police lodged a case against the 63-year-old under Section 57 of the ICT Act and produced him before a Dhaka court the following day.

The arrest was made after Shahidul criticised the government’s role in an interview given to the Al Jazeera (English) channel.

Shahidul was then placed on a seven-day remand. The law enfocers charged him with “spreading propaganda and false information against the government”.

His arrest and imprisonment sparked outrage and condemnation at home and abroad.

Shahidul obtained permanent bail from the HC on November 15.

He was released from the Dhaka Central Jail on November 20.