19 October 2019

Some OCs, DCs think they are “all in all”: HC

Court rejects bail plea of former Sonagazi police OC Moazzem Hossain
Former Sonagazi Police Station’s officer-in-charge Moazzem Hossain. File photo -

The High Court today criticised former Sonagazi Police Station’s officer-in-charge Moazzem Hossain for asking Nusrat Jahan Rafi irrelevant questions during interrogation and capturing the incident on phone, UNB reports.

“Is it the OC’s job to capture video? We don’t see the relevance of the questions,” the court said while hearing Moazzem’s bail petition in a case filed under the Digital Security Act.

Moazzem will now have to spend more time in prison after the bench of Justice Md Moinul Islam Chowdhury and Justice Khizir Hayat threw out his petition.

During the hearing, the court noted how some OCs and deputy commissioners “consider themselves landlords” and think that they are “all in all”.

Moazzem is accused of unlawfully interrogating Feni madrasa girl Nusrat and recording the incident on phone. Supreme Court lawyer Syeddul Haque Sumon filed a case against Moazzem under the Digital Security Act on April 15 after the video went viral on the social media.

Moazzem’s lawyer Ahasanullah told the court that the case is baseless and insisted that his client captured the video “as part of discharging his duties”.

The former OC had summoned Sonagazi Islamia Senior Fazil Madrasa's Principal Sirajuddoula and Nusrat, who accused the teacher of sexually harassing her, to the police station.

Nusrat’s mother filed a case with Sonagazi police over her daughter's sexual harassment. The OC interrogated Nusrat in the absence of her lawyer or any other woman and used inappropriate language. He recorded the episode on phone and used indecent language.

Ahasanullah claimed that the video from Moazzem’s phone went to a journalist. “We fear it was leaked from there,” the lawyer said.

The court noted that the girl might not have died if everyone was conscious.

Nusrat was set on fire on April 6 at an exam centre, reportedly by people loyal to Sirajuddoula. She died on April 10 at Dhaka Medical College Hospital.

Attorney General Mahabubey Alam pointed out that Moazzem captured the video and made it go viral even after being a responsible officer of the government. “What massage will the people get if he is granted bail? If he is sick, the jail authorities will provide him treatment.”

He also criticised the vile language Moazzem used during Nusrat’s interrogation.

Alam then posed a question whether the questions asked were relevant. To which the court said: “We don’t see any context of asking such questions. Can an OC ask questions this way?”

The attorney general told the court that the OC cannot and slammed Moazzem’s activities as irresponsible. The court noted that Nusrat would not have died had she been given protection.

“We won’t give bail to Moazzem,” the bench said.

Ahasanullah insisted that the case had been filed to damage the image of police but the court pointed out: “A person is involved in this but not the police.”

Moazzem was withdrawn and later suspended on May 10. A tribunal ordered his arrest on May 27 after investigators found allegations brought against him to be true. He was arrested on June 16 from Shahbagh.

The next day, the Cyber Tribunal rejected his bail plea and sent him to jail. The police officer later sought bail from the bench of Justice Moyeenul Islam Chowdhury and Justice Md Ashraful Kamal on July 2.

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