A court in Dhaka on Monday indicted Bangladesh Nationalist Party senior vice-chairman Tarique Rahman, former chairman of private channel Ekushey Television and the channel’s two former journalists in a sedition case.
Dhaka metropolitan sessions judge Md Kamrul Hossain Molla passed the order and set January 15, 2018 for testimony of the prosecution witnesses.
Besides Tarique, the other accused are Ekushey TV former chairman Abdus Salam, former chief reporter Mahatir Faruqui Khan and
former special correspondent Kanak Sarwar.
From the dock, only Abdus Salam heard the charges brought against the four. He pleaded not guilty and sought justice.
The court said that the trial of the remaining trio will be held in absentia.
On October 23, the court issued warrants of arrest for Tarique, Mahatir and Kanak Sarwar after taking cognizance of the charge sheet submitted in the case against the four.
The court issued the warrants as they did not appear before the court during the hearing in the case.
On September 6, 2016, Detective Branch of police inspector Emdadul Haque, also the investigation officer of the case, submitted the charge sheet against the four in the sedition case.
On January 8, 2015, sub-inspector Md Borhanuddin filed the case with Tejgaon police station over live telecast of a speech by Tarique Rahman at a programme in London on January 5.
According to the case, Tarique instigated his party activists by the ‘provocative’ speech to create anarchy in the country at that time.
Abdus Salam committed the same offence by broadcasting Tarique’s ‘provocative’ speech on his television channel, which also posed a threat to the sovereignty of Bangladesh, according to the case statement.
Abdus Salam was arrested from near ETV office at Karwan Bazar in Dhaka on January 6, 2015, in connection with another case. He later secured bail.
Tarique has been in London since September 11, 2008 on medical grounds after securing bail in various cases.
Tarique is also facing other cases filed on different charges, including August 21 grenade attacks on Awami league rally in 2004.
Two other accused in the sedition case, Mahathir Farooki Khan and Kanak Sarwar, went into hiding after securing bail.
Want stories like this in your inbox?
Sign up to exclusive daily email
More Stories from Politics