Prime Minister Hasina and Co. Defamed: 13 Individuals face significant time behind bars

Prime Minister Hasina and Co. Defamed: 13 Individuals face significant time behind bars
March 06 06:40 2019 Print This Article

A total of 13 individuals have been hit with a defamation lawsuit over allegations of “slandering the good name of Prime Minister Hasina, her government and its affiliates. At the center of it all happens to be an online news publication called ‘’, which allegedly published the derogatory content on its website, with the listed accused identified as contributors. The defendants allegedly expressed “offensive and inflammatory” opinions within the aforementioned online news outlet. Our correspondent states that there were several ‘vile and provocative’ comments made Prime Minister Hasina and her father, in particular, the father of the nation Sheikh Mujibur Rahman of course. The names of those accused in this lawsuit are as follows,

Primary defendant Md Hasnain, Mohammad Rashed Alam, Md Anissuzaman, Md Sabbir Hossain, Chinmoy Debnath, Shah Mohammad Shahinur Rob, Azir Uddin, Kawsar Hamid, Mohammad Abu Zobair Rabbani, Nizam Uddin Dodon, Moshiul Hossain Khan, Md Tofayel Hossain.

It was a frantic end to what has been another hectic week in Dhaka, culminating in this extraordinary piece of news, no doubt reverberating across every corner of Bangladesh by now. A high profile defamation lawsuit indeed, the merits of which are set to be contested in the Metropolitan Magistrate Court No.22, Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Court, Dhaka. For those of our readers wondering, the lawsuit is in accordance with Bangladesh Penal Code 500/501. The date it was filed is 4th March 2019.

Startling as it is, the lawsuits immediate sticking point is its connection to the Prime Minister herself although our correspondent reports that it may not be directly related to her in the sense. However, the plaintiff, one Mr. Md Hanif, is reportedly a vehement supporter of the Awami League Party. Our correspondent managed to catch up to him and he has this to say, “I am shocked and deeply aggrieved by how people like that get away with besmirching the good name of the many capable men and women currently governing our great nation. They think it is a joke. I personally am a great supporter of free speech and invite constructive criticism. But if you take one look at what ‘Portal Bangladesh’ and its gang of hoodlums have written, you will immediately realise how childish and baseless they are. The mud that they have thrown around only serves to incite and aggravate people, there is nothing constructive or even accurate about what they wrote. As a dutiful Bangladeshi citizen, I believe I need to set an example and take a stand against these things.”

Moving on according to our sources ‘Portal Bangladesh’ is moderated from abroad, and its contributors, at least those listed in the lawsuit whom our correspondent tried to get in touch with rather unsuccessfully, also operate from foreign shores. Having said that our correspondent did manage to extract a working email address for ‘Portal Bangladesh’ (for those who run it we assume) and has subsequently sent them an email requesting a response. We are yet to hear back from them as of now.

Our court correspondent also got in touch Bangladesh Foreign Ministry, querying whether the foreign ministry has been keeping tabs on this situation or whether they are trying to trace the whereabouts of the accused individuals. He has declined any information and were instead referred to the Home Ministry by a very irate spokesperson. Our correspondent was not even able to get through at the Home Ministry.

This left us having to seek out the CID headquarter, in charge of conducting primary investigations over the charges brought in this lawsuit. Although we were declined an interview with the chief investigating officer, one of the on-duty officers did speak to us and stated “that the investigations are still in their infancy. There is also a strong possibility that the CID could get involved here given the sensitive nature of this matter. The media shall be updated accordingly”.

Although defamation lawsuits are fairly common, one must adjudge the magnitude of this particular one, with Bangladesh’s current socio-political climate. Time and again throughout its tenure this current regime has demonstrated itself as grossly intolerant of any expressed dissent towards it. As such this lawsuit might possibly bear added implications for those charged, along with the documented legal ones of course. As per the Bangladesh Penal Codes 500/501, anyone proven guilty of defamation charges brought against him, will be liable to not only face a sizeable fine but also a significant amount of jail time.

We will try and gather more information about this lawsuit, so stay tuned.

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