Bangladesh

Don’t talk, Minni; SP, you too

The High Court yesterday granted bail to Ayesha Siddika Minni on conditions that she cannot talk to the media and she will remain in her father’s custody.

If Minni breaches the conditions, her bail will be cancelled, the court said while delivering the verdict on her bail petition.

The HC also criticised the superintendent of police in Barguna for making a statement to the media that Minni while on police remand confessed to her involvement in the murder of her husband Rifat Sharif.

It directed the home secretary and the inspector general of police to formulate a guideline on statements to be given by law enforcers to the media on the progress of cases and those arrested during investigation.

The bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice Md Mostafizur Rahman passed the verdict after hearing the bail petition.

The court granted the bail on different grounds. Those include Minni is a woman; her name was not included in the First Information Report; she was kept detained for a long time at the Police Lines (in Barguna) before her arrest; there was no lawyer for her when she was produced before a magistrate following her arrest; the SP gave a statement to the media before she gave her confessional statement; the investigation of the case was at the final stage and there is no scope for influencing the investigation.

The court also said, “Superintendent of Police in Barguna Maruf Hossain appeared before the media while Ayesha Siddika Minni was on remand. His statement that Minni confessed to her guilt was not only uncalled for but also was contradictory to the ethical practices and fair and impartial investigation.

“Whatever was the situation, such a statement from a responsible officer like the superintendent of police has created different questions on the people’s mind. On one side his statement has created questions on the people’s mind and on other it has put his responsibility and professionalism into question, which is regretting and disappointing,” the HC bench said.

Taking these issues into consideration, the inspector general of police will take necessary steps in this regard, the HC observed.

The HC judges said, “Many police officers are seen delivering statements about investigation with overenthusiasm. We all have to remember that an accused cannot be termed a criminal or said that he or she has committed offence until the allegation brought against him or her is proven. Statements should not be given in a manner that it appears that the accused is guilty.”

Talking to reporters yesterday, Minni’s father Mozammel Hossain and her lawyer Advocate ZI Khan Panna expressed satisfaction at the HC verdict.

They said they got justice.

Deputy Attorney General Sarwar Hossain Bappi, who opposed the bail petition, told The Daily Star that the government would move an appeal before the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court challenging the HC order.

Rifat Sharif, 25, an internet service provider, was hacked to death in broad daylight in front of Minni’s college in Barguna town on June 26.

In the CCTV footage of the incident, Minni was seen screaming and trying to save her husband from the attackers.

Rifat’s father filed the murder case with Barguna Sadar Police Station against 12 people on the day of the incident. The prime accused in the case, Nayan Bond, was killed in a “gunfight” with police on July 2.

Speaking at a press conference in his office on July 18, SP Maruf Hossain said they arrested Minni as they found her link with the murder.

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