Criminal investigation violates constitution: Shahdeen

Staff Correspondent | Published: 01:18, Jun 27,2019


The Committee for Protection of Fundamental Rights holds a discussion on responsibility for ending repression at Dhaka Reporters’ Unity on Wednesday. — New Age photo

Jurist Shahdeen Malik on Wednesday said that the criminal investigation system was running in violation of the constitution as individuals were being forced to testify against self which caused torture in custody.

 ‘Article 35 says that no person accused of any offence shall be compelled to be a witness against himself,’ he said while addressing as the chair in a discussion at Dhaka Reporters’ Unity in the capital.

Committee for the Protection of Fundamental Rights organised the discussion on ‘Responsibilities to Resist Oppression’ to mark the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture.

Mentioning that the 1972 constitution of the country guarantees that none should be compelled to be a witness against himself and that no person should be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhumane, or degrading punishment or treatment, Shahdeen raised questions about the ongoing criminal justice system.

He said that the accused people, even the people held on suspicion, were tortured in custody and were compelled to testify against them.

He said that the magistrates were violating the constitution every day by allowing remand in law enforcers’ custody.

Shahdeen alleged that the country’s people were deprived of their rights and development of a country could not be possible if its people were deprived of their rights.

‘They [present government] want to take our country to the level of a developed country by 2041. It is not possible even by 2061 if people’s rights are not ensured,’ he said.

He saw the ongoing development as ‘illuminating a house during a wedding ceremony’.

‘Wedding festival ends by a day and illumination ends too by the time.’

Critising the deaths in ‘gunfights’ during ongoing anti-drug drive that began in early May 2018, Shahdeen termed the deaths as ‘cold blooded murder’.

Presenting the keynote paper on ‘State’s Responsibility to End Oppression’, Dhaka University law professor Asif Nazrul suggested to abide by the anti-oppression convention fully, implementation of the Supreme Court directives to prevent torture in custody, amendment to Torture and Custodial Death (Prevention) Act 2013 and its implementation and creating mass awareness about the law to end oppression.

Rights activist Nur Khan said that allowing an accused to quiz in custody by courts created a field for torture in custody.

Conducted by rights activist Shireen P Huq, the discussion was also addressed by jurist Sara Hossain and custodial torture victims– quota reform protester Ataullah and Limon Hossain of Jhalakathi also spoke.  

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