15-year old boy cries for justice

M Moneruzzaman

15-year school boy Sabbir Shikdar on Tuesday broke down before a High Court Division bench while narrating the repeated tortures he was subjected to during three days of confinement
at a police station ahead of jailing for two years on the ‘false allegation’ that he had held out ‘death threats’ to a ruling party MP on the Facebook.
Responding to summons, UNO Mohammad Rafiqul Islam who ran the mobile court at Sakhipur submitted to the HC in his affidavit that Sabbir Sikder was jailed for two years as 100 grams of cannabis was recovered from his possession on September 18.
In his affidavit Sakhipur police station officer-in-charge Mohammad Moksudul Alam made the same submission.
Both submitted Sabbir Sikder was 21 according his passport.
The vacation bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice Ashish Rajgan Das said an order would be passed on October 18.
Following newspapers reports under the caption ‘Boy jailed for FB comment about MP’ the same bench in a suo moto rule issued on September 20 summoned the UNO and the OC to explain their actions.
The bench also granted interim bail to Sabbir and asked him to be present on September 27.
According to the report, the mobile court jailed Sabbir for two years under the Information and Communication Technology Act for posting on the Facebook wall of local MP Anupam Shajahan Joy, ‘Your time is going to end.’
On September 16, Anupam lodged a general dairy alleging that death threats had been posted on his Facebook wall in humiliating language.
In their affidavits, the UNO and the OC submitted that the mobile court arrested Sabbir for suspicious movement at Protimabanki village at 5.15 on September 18 and jailed him on the spot after he confessed that he possessed 100 grams of hemp worth TK 1,500.
The UNO submitted that the mobile received a complaint from constable Delwar Hossain that Sabbir possessed hemp.
The bench demanded to know from UNO’s lawyer SM Rezaul Karim how the constable could submit computer composed complaint to the mobile court against Sabbir.
The bench pointed out there were inconsistencies between the seizure-list and the mobile court’s verdict about the recovered quantity of hemp.
Being asked, Sabbir informed the bench that a uniformed policeman and a plainclothes police awoke him by knocking the door of his house at 9 PM on September 16, took him to Sakhipur police station and the OC subjected him to tortures and demanded to know from him what he had written against the MP.
Sabbir said that later on the same day he was taken to the MP’s residence who hit him twice and demanded to know what he had written against him.
He said that following orders from the MP the police took him the police station though told the MP that he had written nothing against him.
Sabbir informed the bench that after detaining him at the police station for three days he was blindfolded and produced before the OC in handcuffs.
He also informed the bench that the OC threw him down and beat him mercilessly and threatened that he would be killed in ‘cross-fire’ unless he confessed that he had issued death threats against the MP.
He said in tears that through inhumane tortures a confessional statement was extracted from him that he himself wrote the death threat on the Facebook without any help from anyone.
In the evening of the third day, said Sabbir he was taken to the UNO’s office and the UNO kicked him on his chest and knocked him down though he offered apologies and gave the assurance that he would not repeat such mistakes.
He said that later someone picked him up and took him to the police station again where he was told that he had been sentenced to jail for two years.
A mobile court is not empowered to convict anyone on the basis of complaints, lawyer Khurshid Alam Khan submitted in defence of Sabir.
The lawyer also submitted that the law requires mobile courts to forward to the police stations matters relating to complaints for investigations.
Assisting the court Khurshid pointed out other contradictions in the mobile court’s procedures and its verdict.
He submitted that according to Sabbir’s birth certificate he was born on February 11, 2002 and he was only 15-year old and that no court other than juvenile court could try him.
Lawyers Nurul Islam Sujan, MP and SM Rezaul Karim appeared for the UNO and the OC.

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