The High Court on Tuesday stayed for three months the proceedings of the case against rights group Odhikar’s secretary Adilur Rahman Khan and its director AKM Nasiruddin Elan for ‘distorting’ the figure of killing at a rally of Hefazat-e-Islam at Motijheel in Dhaka in May 2013.
A bench of Justice Borhan Uddin and Justice KM Kamrul Kader also called for the records of the case to the higher court from the Cyber Crimes Tribunal.
The bench passed the order after admitting the appeal petition filed by Adilur, also a Supreme Court lawyer, and Elan seeking to be set aside the Cyber Crimes Tribunal order that on January 8 had framed charges against them.
Senior Supreme Court lawyer Rokanuddin Mahmud with Md Asaduzzaman moved the appeal petition while deputy attorney general Mohammad Selim opposed the petition.
The cyber tribunal judge, KM Shamsul Alam ,framed the charges and posted for January 22 the beginning of the trial of the case with recording depositions of prosecution witnesses.
The tribunal also rejected a petition filed by both the accused seeking dismissal of the charges the police brought against them under the Information and Communications Technology Act 2006.
On May 5, 2012, law enforcers in an overnight drive flashed out Hefazat-e-Islam protesters from Shapla Square triggering criticism of the drive that left a number of people dead.
Odhikar’s lawyers pleaded that Odhikar through an independent investigation published a report claiming that more than 60 people were killed during the drive and recommended a judicial inquiry.
Instead of launching any judicial inquiry, the lawyers said, the government scrapped the report and the police filed a case against the Odhikar officials.
On September 4, Detective Branch inspector Ashraful Islam pressed charges against the two after completing an investigation of the claim of Odhikar that 61 people had died in the operation early May 6.
International and local rights organisations have been demanding the the government should withdraw the case and should not harass the rights activists.