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“All Citizens are Equal before Law and are Entitled to Equal Protection of Law”-Article 27 of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh

Issue No: 180
August 7, 2010

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334 NGOs shut in four months
The government cancelled registration of 334 non-government organisations (NGOs) in the last four months for their involvement in corruption, misuse of foreign funds and patronisation of militancy. The NGO Affairs Bureau (NGOAB) launched a stringent drive to clean up the sector and seized moveable and non-moveable property of these organisations, which were operating in the name of social welfare, charity and volunteerism. The move is significant as NGOAB had cancelled only 56 foreign-funded NGOs in the last two decades since 1990. The bureau cancelled the registration in April, May, June, July and August-2, after a series of probes into violation of rules and laws to run foreign-funded projects in the country. -The Daily Star, August 5, 2010.

Punishment stays for errant realtors
A parliamentary body turned down its sub-committee's recommendation for scrapping the proposed real estate law's provision for jail sentences to realtors developing and advertising projects without approval. The parliamentary standing committee on the housing and public works ministry however included three new provisions prescribing jail sentences and fines to land owners for violating contracts with real estate firms. Last year, it formed the three- member sub-committee headed by M Enamul Haque, a realtor-turned-lawmaker, for scrutiny of Real Estate Development and Management Bill. -The Daily Star, August 4, 2010.

EC flip-flops on own law
Breaching the law on political parties' registration, the Election Commission decided to give ruling Awami League and 16 other political parties two more months to submit their financial transaction reports. EC officials explained the decision as a step to "avert possible conflict" with the parties that did not submit their financial reports before deadline. According to the Political Parties' Registration Rules 2008, a party must have its financial transactions audited by a chartered accounting firm and submit a copy of the report to the commission by July 31. Although the deadline expired Saturday, the EC allowed the political parties to submit their report on Sunday, as July 31 was a public holiday. Of the 38 parties registered with the EC, only 21 including BNP, Jatiya Party and Jamaat-e-Islami have turned in their reports for the calendar year 2009. -The Daily Star, August 4, 2010.

4 Jamaat leaders in war trial dock
They are no stranger to court. They stood in the dock before. But their appearance at the International Crimes Tribunal marks a watershed. For it was the first time the four top Jamaat-e-Islami leaders were in court as accused in the long-awaited war crimes trial. Jamaat Ameer Motiur Rahman Nizami, Secretary General Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojahid, Senior Assistant Secretaries General Mohammad Kamaruzzaman and Abdul Quader Molla were brought to the courtroom. During brief proceedings, the tribunal directed the prison authorities to keep them in custody until further orders in the first complaint case filed with it. The war crimes prosecution filed the case on July 25 under the International Crimes Tribunal Act, and prayed for arrest warrants against the four. In the case, they charged the Jamaat leaders with committing genocide and crimes against humanity and peace during the Liberation War in 1971. -The Daily Star, August 3, 2010.

5 acquitted of graft cases
The High Court acquitted former Jamaat-e Islami lawmaker Shahjahan Chowdhury, Awami Swechchasebak League General Secretary Pankaj Debnath, and three others of corruption charges for which lower courts sentenced them to imprisonment for different terms. The three others acquitted are former power secretary ANH Akhter Hossain, Faisal Morshed Khan, son of former BNP foreign minister M Morshed Khan, and Mir Helal Uddin, son of BNP leader and former state minister Mir Mohammad Nasiruddin. An HC bench comprised of Justice Syed Muhammad Dastagir Husain and Justice AKM Zahirul Hoque acquitted the five in separate judgements in response to appeals filed by them against the verdicts of lower courts. Special courts set up during the tenure of caretaker government sentenced them in separate graft cases filed by the Anti-Corruption Commission. -The Daily Star, August 3, 2010.

Report Aila steps in 20 days
The High Court (HC) directed the government to submit a report within 20 days on what steps it has taken for infrastructure developments at the Aila affected areas of the country. The bench also issued a rule upon the government to explain within four weeks why it should not be directed to take necessary steps for infrastructure development at Aila affected areas including repairing of its 1,742 kilometres of embankments and making a law for disaster management. A bench of the HC comprised of Justice AHM Shamsuddin Chowdhury Manik and Justice Sheikh Md Zakir Hossain passed the order following a writ petition filed as public interest litigation by advocate Shahidul Islam, a Supreme Court lawyer. -The Daily Star, August 2, 2010.

Delwar, two other BNP leaders sued
A case was filed against three BNP leaders, including its secretary general, on charges of making threatening speech on July 25 to kill Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. The accused are BNP Secretary General Khandaker Delwar Hossain, Rafiqul Islam Mia and Moazzem Hossain. Hazrat Moulana Mohammad Elias Hossain Bin Helali, president of Bangladesh Awami Ulema League Central Committee, filed the case with the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate's Court, Dhaka. The court also issued a summon asking the three leaders to appear before it on August 25, taking into cognisance the charges against the three for intimidating to kill the prime minister. - The Daily Star, August 2, 2010.

8 cheated job seekers return
The eight Bangladeshi jobseekers, whom an organised gang deserted in Malaysia with fake visas of New Zealand, returned home. The victims are Ruhul Amin, Abu Al-Razin, Santo Ghosh, Nesar Uddin, Abul Kashem, Rashed Hossain, Kamrul Islam and Abdul Rahim. "They [human traffickers] took us to Malaysia promising New Zealand visas from there. But they left us there with fake visas," said Ruhul Amin after arriving at Hazrat Shahjalal (R) International Airport. The victims had been conned out of Tk 60 lakh, which they managed by selling land and taking loan on high interest. Stranded from early June till yesterday, they lived on the money sent from home. Meanwhile, the jobseekers contacted Malaysian NGOs Tenganita and CARAM Asia in late June. These organisations verified the visas of New Zealand and found them to be forged. Helpless, the victims filed a case with Dang Wangi Police Station in Kuala Lumpur against traffickers Muazzem Hossain, Alam, Shikder Zakir alias Samrat and Delwar Hossain. -The Daily Star, August 1, 2010.



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