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Bangladesh Rape case judge ignored Supreme Court’s order

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Mosammat Kamrunnahar, the judge who has lost her judicial powers over a controversial observation in the Raintree hotel rape case verdict, granted bail to a suspect in another case ignoring the Supreme Court’s order to stay the bail in 2020.

The matter came to light after the Appellate Division passed an order on Monday over her judgment on the bail, for which she was summoned by the top court. The written order was not immediately available.

Kamrunnahar, the judge of the Women and Children Repression Prevention Tribunal-7, on Thursday acquitted Shafat Ahmed, the son of an Apan Jewellers co-owner, and four others of charges of raping two university students at the Raintree hotel in Dhaka’s Banani in 2017.

The medical reports on the victims did not find any signs of sexual violation because the case was filed weeks after the incident – one of the factors that led to the acquittal of the suspects. 

The investigator should have given the matter “proper consideration”, but he “wasted the public’s time”, the judge said in the verdict.

No rape case should be filed if 72 hours have passed since the incident, she added, drawing flak from rights activists, legal experts, the government and the top court.

Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain on Sunday removed her from judicial duty.

In the other case filed at Hatirjheel Police Station on Sept 13, 2018, a woman brought rape charges against Aslam Shikder, a former producer at ATN News, a private broadcaster. Police arrested him the same day.

The state appealed against the verdict after the tribunal cleared him of the charges on Oct 14, 2020. The High Court recorded the appeal for hearing on Jan 20 this year and ordered Aslam to surrender.

Earlier, the tribunal granted him bail on Jun 18, 2019. The chamber judge of the Supreme Court stayed the bail following the state’s appeal. The state later filed a petition seeking an extension of the stay on the bail.

Meanwhile, on Mar 2, 2020, Kamrunnahar granted Aslam bail despite the chamber judge’s stay order.

After Mahbubey Alam, the then attorney general, informed the Appellate Division about the matter, the Appellate Division reviewed the tribunal documents on the case and ordered Kamrunnahar on Mar 12 to appear on Apr 2 and explain on what basis she approved the bail.

The matter over the bail order came to the cause list for hearing by a five-member Appellate Division panel, headed by the chief justice, on Monday.

AM Amin Uddin, the incumbent attorney general, told the court that the state’s plea was no longer in the case.    

“We have everything,” Chief Justice Hossain pointed out.

After a recess, the chief justice said a written order was passed on the matter.

Amin Uddin said the state had not received the order yet.

Courtesy – BDNews24

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