The High Court yesterday ordered the law enforcers not to harass or arrest Prothom Alo Editor Matiur Rahman and five others until the hearing on the bail petition in a case filed over the death of Naimul Abrar Rahat, a student of Dhaka Residential Model College.
The HC bench of Justice Obaidul Hassan and Justice AKM Zahirul Huq passed the order after Matiur Rahman and five others appeared before the court seeking bail.
The court also fixed today for hearing the petition.
The five others are: Anisul Hoque, deputy editor of Prothom Alo, Kabir Bakul, head of event and activation of Kishor Alo, Shuvashish Pramanik Shuvo and Shah Paran Tushar, assistants at event and activation of Kishor Alo, Mahitul Alam Pavel, senior assistant editor of Kishor Alo.
Barrister M Amir-ul Islam, AM Aminuddin, Sumaaiya Aziz, and Prashanta Karmoker appeared for Prothom Alo while Deputy Attorney General Sarwar Hossain represented the state.
On January 16, a Dhaka court issued arrest warrants against Prothom Alo Editor and Publisher Matiur Rahman and nine others in the case. The court fixed February 24 for the next hearing in the case.
After the court proceedings, Aimr-ul Islam told reporters that the court was set to hear the petition yesterday afternoon but later fixed tomorrow [Monday] for the hearing due to time constraints.
Their petition is expected to be on the first part of the court’s cause list for today, he added.
Replying to a question as to why his clients sought bail directly from the High Court, the senior lawyer said, “The actions were taken at the lower court. We found those actions very illogical. Without coming to the High Court, effective results would not have been attainable.
“Besides, the person was not at the spot and his father [Abar’s father] in writing requested the officer-in-charge that he would not file case in this regard. It was an accident. Even so the case has been filed. So, we think this is a mala fide prosecution,” he added
Abrar, a ninth-grader, was electrocuted during the anniversary programme of Prothom Alo’s youth magazine Kishor Alo on November 1 last year.
The charges brought against all the accused are under section 304(A) of Bangladesh Penal Code. The section deals with deaths caused by “rash or negligent act”.
According to the section, a person may face up to five years in jail if charges are proven against him or her.
The victim’s father, Mojibur Rahman, filed the case with the Fourth Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate’s Court in Dhaka on November 6 last year.
In the complaint, Mojibur said his son was electrocuted and became unconscious around 4:30pm on November 1 last year while attending the programme of Kishor Alo.
Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Md Aminul Haque took the case into cognisance and ordered the OC of Mohammadpur Police Station to submit an investigation report.