Denial of bail to Shiekh Hasina is illegal

New Delhi: Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) today condemned the denial of bail to former Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina by the Supreme Court of Bangladesh. The Supreme Court stayed the High Court order of 30 July 2007 which granted her bail and stayed the inclusion of the extortion case under the Emergency Powers Rules (EPR) of 2007.

“The Supreme Court of Bangladesh has become a “rubber stamp” of the Care-taker government and an instrument to legitimise the illegal actions of the care-taker government”. – stated Mr Suhas Chakma, Director of Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR).

Though the alleged bribery was committed by former Minister Fazlul Karim Selim in 2001, the government is trying Sheikh Hasina by retrospectively applying the Emergency Powers Rules of 2007. A case of alleged bribery has been turned into extortion to ensure that the alleged crime can be brought under the purview of the Emergency Power Rules 2007.

The invocation of the Emergency Powers Rules against Sheikh Hasina is illegal. Article 15 of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights clearly states “No one shall be held guilty of any criminal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a criminal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time when the criminal offence was committed”.

“The charges against Sheikh Hasina are politically motivated. If Sheikh Hasina can be charged for alleged corruption by her cousin Karim Selim who never lived with her in the same house, why can't Begum Khaleda Zia be charged for the alleged corruption and extortion committed by Tariq Zia from the Prime Minister's House? – asked Mr Chakma.

The detention and trial under the EPR 2007 is politically motivated as Sheikh Hasina has been challenging the Care-taker government and the Directorate General of Bangladesh Forces' Intelligence.

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