Lawyers doubt bolstered security will prevail as police claim escaped militants under watch

After the escape of two militants, security at courts across the country has been beefed up

Prokash Biswasbdnews24.com
Published : 21 Nov 2022, 09:43 PM
Updated : 21 Nov 2022, 09:43 PM

Additional police are deployed at the entrance of the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate's Court of Dhaka, while a security cordon of armed police is in place outside the court's lockup, and vehicles carrying law enforcers are accompanying every prison van in the front and behind.

The law-enforcing agencies beefed up security at the court premises in the capital on Monday, a day after two militants were snatched away by their associates from police custody at the court premises. 

Lawyers, however, are quite sceptical about whether the bolstered security will last long.

“Everything will be the same again within two days,” said advocate Syed Shahinul Islam Rizvi.

Courts have been the target of terrorist attacks several times in Bangladesh. A judge was killed in a bomb attack by militants in one of the attacks. 

On Sunday, the militants of banned outfit Ansar Al Islam used two motorcycles and managed to free Moinul Hasan Shamim alias Samir aka Imran and Abu Siddique Sohel alias Shakib aka Sajid alias Shahab from police custody while they were being taken back to a lockup in the court premises after testifying in a case. 

Sohel was sentenced to death over the murder of writer-blogger Avijit Roy while both Sohel and Moinul were given the death penalty for the killing of Avijit’s publisher Faysal Arefin Dipan.

The militants sprayed some chemicals on the eyes of the policemen escorting the convicts.

After the escape of the two militants, the security of the court premises across the country was strengthened. Security was tight in the court area of Old Dhaka. 

"Motorcycles were illegally kept in the court premises in connivance with the court's staff leaders, which is not seen today. Like every court building, some policemen used to give facilities in exchange for money to the accused in the court building, which is not being noticed today,” said Anwarul Kabir Babul, an additional public prosecutor of the Dhaka Chief Judicial Magistrate's Court.

Police took position at the entrance of CMM court on Monday. The main gate was closed unlike other days. People were using the pocket gate as the authorities put metal detectors there.

Sheikh Hemayet Hossain, the public prosecutor of the District and Sessions Judge's Court, said there was a lack of security in the incident. 

He demanded the authorities bring the court area under CCTV camera surveillance to avoid such incidents in future. 

Lawyers have also demanded to keep convicted militants in bar fetters while bringing them to courts. CMM Court’s Public Prosecutor Abdullah Abu has recommended amending the law if necessary. 

Lawyer Mahbub Hasan Rana said that the issue of insecurity in the court had been neglected for a long time. He said accused in many sensitive cases come to court from jail and celebrate birthdays and wedding anniversaries with the help of some dishonest police officers. “Doesn't that disturb the security in the court?" he said.

"If the police and court employees do not stop taking bribes, the security of the court will remain neglected," said Additional PP Anwarul Kabir Babul.

ESCAPED MILITANTS ‘UNDER WATCH’

Harunor Rashid, chief of Dhaka Metropolitan Police’s Detective Branch, said at a press conference: “The investigation is ongoing. We think the accused are under our watch.”

Later, Md Asaduzzaman, chief of police’s Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime unit or CTTC, said they identified the militants who were involved with the operation to snatch away their leaders.

Without revealing the names, he said, “We’ve identified the man who led the incident. The others with him have also been identified.”

He also said police took measures at borders to stop the militants from fleeing Bangladesh.

According to a case over the incident, fugitive militant leader Syed Ziaul Haque alias Major Zia, a sacked army officer, masterminded the escape and Moshiur Rahman alias Ayman led the operation.

The others named in the case are Sabbirul Haque Chowdhury alias Akash alias Konik, Shamsed Mia alias Tanvir aka Saiful alias Tusher Biswas, Riazul Islam alias Sumon, and Omor Faruk alias Saad.

[Additional reporting by Liton Haider]

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