A judicial magistrate court in Cox’s Bazar on Monday framed charge against a Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust female worker and began trial in the defamation case filed by a Border Guard Bangladesh official in Cox’s Bazar over the reports of sexual harassment at a roadside check-post on October 8.
Senior judicial magistrate Tamanna Farah framed the charge in the presence of the BLAST female worker, who pleaded not guilty and sought justice over the accusation.
The court also set April 18 for the recording of the witnesses’ statement in the case.
The defence counsel, Abdus Sukkur, argued that the accused did not make any comment to the media over the rape at the BGB check post and the journalists who wrote the reports were not prosecuted too.
The defence lawyer said they placed 13 points on why she should not be framed under Section 500 of Penal Code.
In reply, BGB’s lawyer Md Sajjadul Karim argued that the BLAST worker exaggerated the fact about the check post incident and claimed to the reporters that she was raped.
Sajjadul Karim said that the female worker called journalists, and gave false information. He also said he told the court that the BGB side has video footage on the collusion.
Academics, lawyers and rights activists have been condemning the filing of a defamation case against the female worker, instead demanded a neutral, proper and independent investigation into the incident.
The BLAST female worker complained about sexual harassment against BGB personnel on October 8 during a search, and she got admission to the One Stop Crisis Centre in Cox’s Bazar General Hospital with a complaint of sexual assault.
On November 10, Cox’s Bazar senior judicial magistrate Tamanna Farah, after receiving a complaint by BGB’s nayek subedar Md Ali Molla against the female worker, asked the Teknaf police officer-in-charge to submit a report in seven working days about the incident.
According to the complaint, the BGB officer accused the female legal aid worker for defaming the image of the border security force with her ‘imaginary allegation’ of rape against BGB members, and she ‘allured’ a number of media outlets to report the incident on the basis of her statement.
The BGB estimated that the news reports caused a damage of Tk 100 crore to the force.
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