Eighteen eminent citizens yesterday condemned the filing of a defamation case against a female employee of Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST) by a member of Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB).
In a joint statement, they said there has been an allegation of sexual violence at a BGB check post in Cox's Bazar and the female BLAST employee is said to be the victim.
If a female, who has been subjected to violence, faces harassment due to misuse of the country's criminal law, then this will undoubtedly spread further fear among many more similar victims and also discourage them from filing complaints, they said in the statement.
They demanded a neutral probe into the alleged incident of sexual violence that took place on October 8 as well as a speedy trial into it.
Besides, the eminent citizens called upon the home ministry and related government institutions to immediately formulate a guideline on conducting search at check posts by members of law enforcement agencies.
The signatories of the statement are: Rights activist Sultana Kamal, former adviser to a caretaker government Rasheda K Chowdhury, Nijera Kori Coordinator Khushi Kabir, Supreme Court lawyer Shahdeen Malik, rights activist Hameeda Hossain, Dhaka University Prof Gitiara Nasreen, Naripokkho member Shireen Haque, Supreme Court lawyer ZI Khan Panna, Transparency International Bangladesh Executive Director Dr Iftekharuzzaman, Manusher Jonno Foundation Executive Director Shaheen Anam, author Rahnuma Ahmed, Association for Land Reform and Development Executive Director Shamsul Huda, Nagorik Uddyog Chief Executive Zakir Hossain, researcher Shapan Adnan, writer and journalist Abu Sayeed Khan, Bangladesh Adibashi Forum General Secretary Sanjeeb Drong, rights activist Noor Khan Liton, and Supreme Court lawyer Zobaida Nasreen.
On November 10, Nayeb Subedar Mohammad Ali Molla, in-charge of Damdamia check post of BGB Battalion-2 on Cox's Bazar-Teknaf highway, filed the case with the court of Senior Judicial Magistrate Tamanna Farah in Cox's Bazar.