Courtesy: The Daily Star, Dhaka, front page, 31 Aug 2010
No conviction in 90pc cases
HR commission chief blames cops over criminal offence probes
Police fail to get convictions in a mind-boggling 90 percent cases, the Human Rights Commission chief revealed yesterday.
HRC Chairman Prof Mizanur Rahman also said police exercise excess power, abuse laws and make indiscriminate arrests but they ultimately fail to prove charges they bring against the arrestees.
Mizanur said this at a discussion that followed the launching ceremony of the book "101 Question and Answers About the Police". Bangladesh Legal Aid Services Trust (BLAST), Nagorik Uddyog and Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative arranged the programme at Cirdap auditorium in the capital.
Apparently the police arrest whoever they like and they care little about legal provisions, he said, adding that if someone is asked about the power of police, the person may ask in return "What power police do not have?".
He claimed that police fail to get convictions in the over 90 percent cases just because they accuse people indiscriminately and arrest them.
He asked authorities concerned to look into the matter and relieve the people of the sufferings caused by the injustice of police.
He also asked for help from the authorities concerned when the watchdog focuses on such activities of police.
Mizanur said extra-judicial killings are unacceptable under any circumstances. He said law enforcers often make lame excuses in this regard about protecting life and properties.
He said police sometimes arrest people and make them totally traceless.
A professor of Jahangirnagar University yesterday informed Mizanur that law enforcers picked up the professor's brother around a year and a half ago and since then they have been unable to know his whereabouts, let alone see him.
Mizanur mentioned another incident in which a tortured minor boy was sent to jail through a court.
Law Minister Shafique Ahmed at the discussion criticised the magistrates. He said the magistrate without considering the age of the accused often send minors to jail.
He said he is considering about promulgating a law to protect witnesses so that they can give their depositions at courts without fear.
The law minister added that lack of proper investigation is the cause behind a good number of cases not being disposed of properly.
The government should ensure that police protect human rights, the discussants said at the meeting.
Political control over police also worsens the situation. As long as police are not allowed to work independently, corruption from the department will not be eliminated, the speakers said.
Former inspector general of police Nurul Huda said policing remains a less respectable profession, which ultimately affects people.
Eminent jurist Dr Kamal Hossain, chairman of BLAST, chaired the meeting. Former adviser to a caretaker government ASM Shahjahan also attended the discussion.