4 DU teachers finally freed: Conviction and release dent legal process

4 DU teachers finally freed: Conviction and release dent legal process
Political leaders, legal experts, and civil society members yesterday said conviction of three Dhaka University (DU) teachers and their release on presidential clemency have undermined credibility of the legal process and showed the government’s inept handling of the issue.

They however hailed the move freeing the teachers and said it should have been made much earlier.

They said the military-backed caretaker administration had set a bad example by arresting teachers and students, and filing cases against them.

Talking to The Daily Star yesterday, noted jurist Shahdeen Malik said, “The way the cases were run and presidential pardon was granted has impaired credibility of the legal process."

The teachers now need to file an appeal with a higher court against their conviction, he observed.

M Hafizuddin Khan, a former adviser to caretaker government, said the government should not have made a drama out of the release of teachers and students. If it was to let them off then why having them convicted.

“Releasing the convicted teachers does not show the government’s magnanimity. If similar situation arises in future, I wonder how that will be controlled after this bad example,” he added.

Referring to teachers’ arrest, he said, “The government calculations have gone wrong. It probably wanted to punish the teachers, but failed for pressure from different quarters.”

Thanking the government for freeing teachers and students, rights activist Sultana Kamal said, “What is happening today will become an example for future and so we should not do anything that might return to shame our conscience.”

Akbar Ali Khan, head of regulatory reforms commission, said the issue should be resolved peacefully and without delay.

Another former adviser, SM Shahjahan, said, “A number of murders were committed on Dhaka University campus over the years, but I never heard any of the cases regarding those going anywhere. Had both the government and university authorities taken the decisions they are taking now, things would not have been this bad.”

Lauding the release of the four teachers, Gono Forum President Dr Kamal Hossain said, "We all wanted a solution to the unrest and a return to normal in Dhaka University."

He, however, stopped short of commenting on the conviction of the three teachers or the government decision to prosecute seven students on charge of assaulting an army man in August.

The Awami League’s acting General Secretary Syed Ashraful Islam expressed sadness at the conviction of the three teachers because "it ripped the dignity of the Dhaka University teachers to shreds".

"What is the point in pardoning them as soon as they were convicted? Hopefully, an appeal would clear them of any wrongdoing," he said adding that it is hard to believe that teachers would be involved in violence.

On moving ahead with the case against the seven students, Ashraf said the decision has jeopardised their future and urged the government to refrain from such an aggressive approach.

The BNP’s pro-reform leader Lt Gen (retd) Mahbubur Rahman welcomed the release of the teachers, saying, "The pride of Dhaka University has been restored; it reflects the sincerity on all sides to resolve the ongoing crisis."

On the bid to prosecute the seven students, he said, "Truth has to be respected. It’s a sensitive issue; we must tread delicately but surely to establish peace in the country."

Workers Party President Rashed Khan Menon said the decision has proved again that an unpopular government views Dhaka University as an opposing force.

He said, "It’s a sign of the government’s vindictive attitude and this will not bode well. It shows that they are in a lot of troubles and they’re desperate.”

original source Daily star | link and news posted by Anim Anamika

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