Ethics


Former Deputy Attorney General M U Ahmed died today under police custody in a city hospital. On August 11, 2011, at the order of high court judges Shamsuddin Chowdhury Manik and Gobinda Thakur, he was arrested and tortured by police until he suffered from a massive myocardial Infarction.

It is evident that everybody living in side Bangladesh is afraid of calling a spade a spade. An environment of fear, extreme fear has been created by these two thuggish judges in Bangladesh. Last in their list of atrocities in the murder of ex Deputy Attorney General Advocate M U Ahmed. This is plain simple muder commited at the beheast of two blindly partisan judges by a brutal murderous police force of Awami League government.

Advertisements

Chief Justice ABM Khairul Haque is going on retirement next week.  His retirement will mark the end of, in fellow blogger tacitaerno’s words, a reign of constitutional terror.

With his retirement, Justice Mojammel Hossain will be the new chief justice. Justice Haque could become chief justice and now he is being followed by Justice Mojammel Hossain only because both of them have proven their utmost loyalty to current ruling party and it’s leader. Both of them superseded Justice Shah Nayeem to become chief justices.

Below is a video montage of comments of different sort of legal professionals on the state of Bangladesh judiciary.

Will start with comments of a leading Supreme Court Lawyer Barrister Sara Hossain,

(more…)

In 2003-04, when Petrobangla faced an arbitration case against Petroleum giant Cairns in the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), the lawyers who were selected to represent Bangladesh and PetroBangla had no experience in international commercial arbitration. The second Khaleda Zia government made that selection based on the lawyers pro-BNP lebel. The result was expected, PetroBangla lost the winnable case and Bangladesh lost a substantial amount of money. The defeat was attributed to poor legal representation and lack of understanding between Petrobangla and its lawyers.
However, in early 90s Bangladesh government and petrobangla won an international arbitration against Canadian petroleum giant Scimitar. The lawyer representing Bangladesh Government was Dr Kamal Hossain and Associates.

So, when Bangladesh was again forced to go to the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) in March, 2006 for another dispute involving Chevron, Dr Kamal Hossain Associates were called back in to represent Bangladesh and PetroBangla. The hearing took place between 2007-2009. Although similar case against Cairns went against Bangladesh in 2004, this time the international arbitration court turned down US oil giant Chevron’s claim of around $240 million from Petrobangla. Dr Hossain’s able representation did not only save Bangladesh $240 million dollars of back pay, it also ensured $320 million more savings over the next 20 years contract period.

(more…)

While giving the verdict on the legality of the punishment of Colonel Taher, the high-court bench of Justices Shamsuddin Chowdhury Manik and Zakir Hossain declared that the whole trial process was illegal and it was in fact a cold blooded murder of Taher by Late president Ziaur Rahman.

What high-court did to come to this conclusion? They interviewed one shoddy journalist character Lawrence lifshultz, who is a political follower of Taher’s communist doctrine. Other interviewed are also 1. Political opponents of Ziaur Rahman’s political platform 2. Supporters of ruling party who took it as their prime job to destroy Zia’s image 3. Political followers of Colonel Taher. Even the judges who delivered the justice, are publicly known nemesis of Ziaur Rahman’s ideology and are former leaders of socialist political platform based on Taher’s doctrine. And this is probably the first court proceeding in Bangladesh history where an witness could simply deliver his opinion via e mail to a third person. There was no ‘balai’ of oath taking, cross examination etc.

Before we go further into what these two judges did and what their judgment means, lets see what Taher in fact did back in early 70s.

1. Taher revolted against the then Awami League government of Sheikh Mijibur Rahman and formed and led an armed force called ” Gonobahinee”. Thousands and thousands of Awami League activists, leaders as well as general people were killed by the armed force. Any literature describing Mujib era Bangladesh will give testimony of the atrocities of Taher’s Gonobahinee.

2. While all other sector commanders were being promoted in the army as Brigadier/ Major General and who in turn helped rebuild the army, Taher was sacked from Bangladesh army by Mujib Government. ( It is unclear what Shamsuddin Chowdhury Manik had to say about this cold blooded sacking of ‘war hero’ Taher).

3. Many sources, well informed of the political military dynamics of 1975, say that it was Taher who was more likely to kill Mujib and there was an invisible race among Taher’s group and Faruq Rashids group in who would kill Mujib first. After hearing of the massacre of 15th August, most observers’ first suspicion was on Taher.

4. Taking the advantage of unstable situation of Bangladesh, Taher’s forces ( a select group of armed anti state forces including Taher’s brother Bahar) attacked Indian High Commission in Dhaka in an attempt to kill India’s high commissioner in Dhaka, Mr Samar Sen. Although Samar Sen survived with bullet wounds in his back, Police force guarding India’s high Commission shot and killed four members of Taher forces ( Including Taher brother Bahar).

(more…)

The value of Bangladesh Supreme Court apparently took a big plunge under it’s new leader Justice Khairul Haque.


Few months ago, the market rate of the honor of Bangladesh Supreme Court was 100,000 taka and six months jail sentence. That was under the leadership of former Chief Justice Fazlul Karim.The full bench of the court decided that rate when they sentenced newspaper editor Mahmudur Rahman for a report what they thought was truthful yet contemptuous of court.

So it was a matter of huge public curiosity when the same editor Mahmudur Rahman was brought back to the highest court for a second contempt of court case against him. And again the three men ( two men short this time, as two seniormost judges are not working out of ‘oviman’ as they were superseded by JusticeKhairul haque to be Chief Justice) found editor Mahmudur Rahman guilty of contempt of court.

However there was a difference in sentencing. Justice Khairul Haque led court  only sentenced editor Mahmudur Rahman a fine of 100 taka and no jail term. A major plunge from 100,000 taka and six months jail fixed by previous court.

Well, this is only the first month of Justice Khairul Haque’s Supreme Court. Let’s see what comes next. From 100,000 to 100 taka in a month. Then what?

A few alarming events took place last few days. Let me list them,

1. A young men was arrested for doing cartoon caricature on our Prime Minister. Per newspaper reports, he did the same thing on PM’s son a little while ago. Law enforcement agency tells he also publish classified government report on BDR mutiny in facebook.

2. Same day, a few hours later, government banned facebook in Bangladesh on the pretext of it allowing materials hurting people’s religious sentiments.

3. Main media outlets which commands >90% readership reports those above stories with their mild spins. Through their spins, facebook ban is a temporary two day event and it was banned by BTRC. The news of the arrest was very successfully deprived of a headline by hiding it in the facebook ban news. In the news of the arrest the media told the nation that that young man was arrested for drawing cartoon on BOTH THE LEADERS, i.e. Sheikh Hasina and Khaleda Zia.

4. My friend emailed me, visibly alarmed at a Naya Diganta news when some Madrassa nuts brought out a rally demanding facebook ban. To me it read like that the whole facebook ban is an act of the right wing nuts, our government had no option but to comply with their demands. So lets be very wary about the those right wing nuts . [ And give the government a break. ]

**************

I replied to my friend that I am equally alarmed at all four above mentioned events. The right wings demands are concerning. Equally concerning to me are the efforts by our progressives who control our mainstream media to undermine this draconian act of the government and make it look like that our Prime Minister has nothing to with this.

I also wrote that when such things ( e.g. arrest cartoonist Arif arrest case) happened during 1/11 era, we never hesitated to make it a top down government crime and raise our voice by all the means we had. I also reminded my friend that if this kind of incident took place before 2006, what would have been our reaction? Would it have been an act of BTRC and RAB, would the arrest news got hidden in another news? It would have been a direct crime of Khaleda-Nizami cohort to make the country Afganistan.

It is ridiculous to assert that the ban was due to pressure on the government by the right wing Islamists. Just yesterday the number two person of the ruling party confirmed Law Minister’s previous announcement that government will change constitution to remove Islam as the state religion and other non secular amendments. In last ten months this government did not allow the main religious party Jamat e Islami to hold one single street rally anywhere. This has is nothing to do with a rally by Madrassa leaders like Amini or the publication of this news in Naya Diganta.

I would like to take this opportunity to challenge our friends in media, blogosphere to rise to this occasion. This is our opportunity to show the nation that our agenda is for a progressive cause, not for a partisan cause. I believe the cause is progressive, but it is our job to make the nation believe the same.

I am afraid, the whole facebook arrest and ban are ill advised actions of the government to contain some news which they either don’t want people to know or be used as false propaganda against government. This government banned youtube previously for publishing BDR mutiny related audios. Recently facebook was also used to publish some document purported to be classified government report of BDR mutiny. There may be great unease at this sort of activities. Religious sentiment may be an intelligent ploy this time to kill the bird and put the blame on the Islamic fundamentalists.

Facebook ban is a very dangerous precedent. We definitely reserve the right to ban materials that may hurt our feelings. But that could have been done in a more smart way. The specific page that contains any offensive material could be blocked. Whole facebook ban or arresting someone for caricaturing a political leader are not expected from a democratic government. If we ban facebook today, we will ban other outlets tomorrow and then whole internet will come under attack some day.

And we must see and say the spade a spade. It is equally dangerous to see some acts of bigotry are tolerated only because a friendly government is in power.

The recent controversy on Chevron deal and the follow up political rumblings surrounding the PM’s son and her energy advisor on one side and Amar Desh editor on the other side has captivated nation’s attention for the last few weeks. While we debate how freedom of speech is being used to trash political opponents, or how political thuggery is trying to gag free speech, the very important issue of a specific corruption allegation is getting crowded out.

 Let’s keep Mr Sajib Wajed or Mr Mahmudur Rahman out of the issue. Mahmudur rahman is making full use of the victimhood, and his showmanship on this issue is ugly. And Mr Wajed is also dragged in this issue unnecessarily or prematurely. It is an unfortunate fact of life for the children of politicians of Bangladesh and beyond that they are always under close scrutiny and often victim of rampant character assassination attempts.

 However, leaving these individuals aside, we are still left with a specific corruption allegation that has merit enough to demand further discussion and scrutiny. Amar Desh reports a specific corruption report with copies of leaked official correspondence.

The specifics of the corruption allegation are self revealing. A $52 million job was allocated to Chevron without required transparency that includes a tender process. And while protesting the report, PM’s energy advisor repeatedly misrepresented facts. While he said there was no bid in three tenders, the fact is that the Government cancelled earlier lowest bid from Korean Company Hyundai only to award the job to Chevron. He also lied about his agenda for the US trip.

Instead of relying on Amar Desh, let’s turn to the premiere newspaper of Bangladesh, the Daily Star.    The Daily Star printed at least seven reports on this specific issue. (Interestingly, while Amar Desh report is based on government documents, the Daily Star series report, as usual, is based on unnamed sources.  But let’s leave this aside, as no one would accuse the Daily Star of partisan hatred of the current government, or Mr Mahfuz Anam, its editor, of ugly showmanship.

On April 11 2009, the Daily Star warned that a compressor station for gas distribution pipeline was being planned to be awarded to Chevron which would “… unduly give Chevron the authority to control major chunk of the country’s gas distribution system. This will definitely create a number of serious legal complications over the authority and ownership of the compressor station and the distribution pipeline” .

Another follow up report published on June 21 2009 quotes a gas transmission expert: “Even if we accept the idea of pumping PSC investment in compressor, I say Muchai gets no priority for a compressor station now. Because of high volume of gas produced by Chevron, the gas pressure at Muchai and onwards is 1024 pressure per inch (PSI). This pressure will stay for a couple of years at this point. But we need a compressor at Ashuganj where the pressure drops to 700-800psi. A number of new plants are being set up close to the Ashuganj pipeline system. Then why prioritise Muchai now?”

The same report also quotes another official: “Petrobangla’s extreme reliance on foreign investment in the gas sector has already created a precarious situation for the national exchequer. The cost of gas is now very high because foreign companies are producing more gas than the national companies which have been denied adequate funds for their healthy growth”.

(more…)

Next Page »