The High Court Division on Wednesday granted division 1 jail facilities to acclaimed photographer Shahidul Alam commensurate to his social and educational status.
‘Tonight we will shift Shahidul Alam from the ordinary cell to division I for the under trial prisoners,’ Mahabubul Islam Milon, jailor of the Dhaka Central Jail told New Age.
As a division 1 prisoner Shahidul Alam would get a bed, a chair, a table, daily newspapers of his choice and other facilities, said the jailor.
The court also directed the government and the jail authorities to explain why their failure to grant division 1 status to Shahidul Alam would not be declared illegal.
A vacation bench of Justice Borhanuddin and Justice Md Mostafizur Rahman passed the order after hearing a writ petition filed by Shahidul Alam’s wife and columnist Rahnuma Ahmed.
Shahidul Alam was granted division one status in the jail a day after the High Court Division declined to hear his bail application on the plea that a judge felt embarrassed.
Petitioner’s lawyer Sara Hossain submitted that being an eminent personality and a celebrated photojournalist, Shahidul Alam, Ph D in chemistry was legally entitled to get division one jail facilities under Rule 910 of the Jail Code but the authorities denied him his legal right.
She submitted that the jail authorities also flouted the order given by the chief metropolitan magistrate court on August 27 asking them to grant his division according to the jail code.
She submitted that the authorities also violated Shahidul Alam’s fundamental rights guaranteed by Article 35(5) of the Constitution by degrading or humiliating him by denying him the due jail facilities.
Sara Hossain was assisted by Jyotirmoy Barua.
Attorney general vehemently opposed to the High Court’s directive granting Shahidul Alam’s division one facilities in the jail, saying that ‘a bad precedence would be created if he was granted division one by the High Court.
At one stage, the bench tried to calm down the attorney general saying that Shahidul Alam would continue to be inside the jail.
On the night of August 5 Shahidul Alam was picked up at his Dhanmondi residence and took him to the office of the Detective Branch for interrogations during which he was tortured physically and mentally.