Mon, Apr 22, 2019 2:02

HC moved for release of another 'wrongly incarcerated' man


A writ petition has been filed with the High Court seeking directives for the release of Md Arman who was allegedly wrongly convicted and imprisoned—for the past three years—in a case of mistaken identity. 

A writ petition has been filed with the High Court seeking directives for the release of Md Arman who was allegedly wrongly convicted and imprisoned—for the past three years—in a case of mistaken identity. 

The case bears similarities to the recent sensational Jahalam case.

Petitioner Barrister M Humayun Kabir Pallab is also seeking compensation for Arman, 36, and the court’s ruling on why the man’s detention should not be declared illegal.

Humayun filed the petition on behalf of the Law and Life Foundation on Sunday. The bench of Justice JBM Hassan and Justice Md Khairul Alam will hear it on Tuesday.

The now-secretary of the Home Ministry, Dhaka district magistrate, OC of Pallabi police station, and offices concerned were made respondents to the petition.

According to the petition, Arman was an artisan at Benaroshi Palli in Dhaka’s Pallabi.

Barrister Humayun said: “Police arrested Arman after confusing him with local drug dealer Shahabuddin Bihari — as their fathers have the same name. Shahabuddin was accused in a drug-smuggling case filed at Pallabi police station.

“He is innocent but he has been in jail for the past three years after being accused and sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment.” 

Because of this mix-up, the real accused, Sahabuddin Bihari, was not caught and is still running his illegal drug dealing business while Md Arman is in jail, claimed the petitioner, he added.

The writ was filed attaching a report, published by Bangla national daily Amader Shomoy, on April 18 regarding Arman's case. 

According to that report, police, in an anti-narcotics drive, detained drug-dealer Sahabuddin Bihari, along with his two aides—Sohel Mollah and Mamun alice Sagor—with 40 yaba pills at a house in Pallabi area of the capital on August 30, 2005. 

Later a case was filed in this regard with the Pallabi police station.

Police submitted a charge sheet against the three persons on September 18 of the same year.

While the case was at trial, Sahabuddin secured bail after two years of imprisonment on March 5, 2007. 

He surrendered to the court on January 17, 2011 and again got bail. However, he has been on the run since then.

On October 1, 2012, court sentenced Sahabuddin and his two assistants to 10 years imprisonment with Tk5,000 fine for each.

The court also issued an arrest warrant for fugitive Sahabuddin.

Following the arrest warrant, on January 27, 2016, police arrested Arman wrongly, because of the situation of the father's name, and produced him before the court on January 29. 

The court then sent Arman to Kasimpur jail where he is prisoner number 3848.

The story of Jahalam

Previously, on February 4, Jute factory worker Jahalam—who spent the last three years behind bars after being wrongfully accused in 33 corruption cases—was released from jail following a High Court order.

Jahalam was arrested on February 6, 2016 after being mistaken for Abu Salek, the original accused in 33 cases that ACC had filed in 2014, over loan fraud and embezzlement of Tk18.5 crore from Sonali Bank Limited.

When the ACC sent for Salek, the summons, however, went to Jahalam. 

Jahalam met with officials of the anti-corruption watchdog, and insisted that he was not Salek.

He also told the ACC that the photo used to open the Sonali Bank account was not his either. 

However, the bank’s officials still identified him as Salek, and the jute mill worker was eventually arrested in Ghorashal following ACC’s green light. 

On May 27 the same year, he was transferred to Dhaka Central Jail 2.

Despite appearing in front of the court many times since, Jahalam did not receive bail. 

Identifying Jahalam as Salek in 26 of the 33 cases, the ACC submitted charge sheets, and the cases started being processed in court.

Last year, several media reports brought the matter of Jahalam's innocence to the ACC's attention, after which, the ACC investigated the matter further.

Upon further investigation, the ACC found Jahalam's claims of innocence to be true.

On February 3, after a legal process, the High Court passed a ruling over the illegality of his imprisonment and directed the jail authorities to immediately release Jahalam. 

He was freed after three long years.