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Case withdrawals galore: Subverts legal process, spurs on impunity culture

Bangladesh on 24 August 2013
Location : Bangladesh | Source : The Daily Star.

IN the name of withdrawing ‘politically-motivated’ cases, political motives come into play placing justice system in double jeopardy. It is as though the purpose for which this is sought to be done is defeated by a similarly tainted counteraction.

The statistics speak for themselves: During the last four and a half years of the AL government among 11,113 cases brought before the national committee for recommending withdrawal of ‘politically motivated’ lawsuits, 7,101 cases have been ordered either completely or partially dropped. Consequently, thousands of persons accused of serious crimes like murder, terrorism, torture, rape have been either let off the hook or are going to be.

The process has been suspect from the very word ‘go’ as it aimed at sweeping away the deck of cases lodged during BNP rule and caretaker regime almost without any discrimination. In most cases the district committees had not themselves recommended for their withdrawal. In some cases, even public prosecutors opposed dropping their names off.

This amounts to subversion of legal system through an executive fiat. Successive governments have been doing it in varying degrees with the concomitant result that the size of the criminal world has vastly increased. People’s sense of security and confidence in governance and legal system have diminished proportionately.

We suggest that an independent agency be put in place entrusted with the responsibility of determining cases instituted for political harassment of opponents and those meriting further legal pursuit.

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