Bangladesh

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Over 33,000 prisoners get bail, jails free 29,692

Poor hardly have access to online courts 

M Moneruzzaman | Published: 00:50, Jun 13,2020

 
 

Poor hardly have any access to online courts for seeking bail although the courts have granted bails to 33,155 detained people since the inception of the online system on May 11, said officials.

They said that a total of 489 children were granted bails by juvenile courts and 460 of them were handed over to their guardians from three Juvenile Development Centres.

A prisons official told New Age on Friday that a total of 29,692 prisoners were released on bails until June 9 and 1,091 prisoners were awaiting release on bails until Thursday.  

Officials of the state-own Bangladesh Legal Services Organisation, which provides free legal aid to destitute litigants, told New Age on Friday that they engaged no lawyer to appear in online courts as they got no list of poor prisoners from the jails or online courts referred any cases of such prisoners.

They said that relatives of the poor prisoners could not reach district legal aid offices.  

A law ministry senior officer, who coordinates legal aid services, told New Age that legal aid officers were providing services to the poor over phones.

Bangladesh Legal Aid Services Trust lawyer Rashedul Islam, however, said that BLAST filed 23 applications seeking bail to the online courts and of which 17 prisoners were granted bails.

The online courts were set up on May 11 to reduce overcrowded jails where 88,754 prisoners, 71,149 of them were under-trial and 15,619 others were convicted until May 4, during the closure of regular courts. 

Until June 11, there were 72,341 prisoners, 57,926 of them under-trial and 12,424 others were convicted, a official of the directorate of the prisons told New Age on Thursday.  

The jail authorities released 2,884 prisoners jailed for one years or less for petty crimes after the government on April 29 reduced their sentences amid COVID-19 outbreak.

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