A court in Rangpur today granted bail to The Daily Star Editor Mahfuz Anam in a Tk 100-crore defamation case, agencies report. Motahar Hossain Moula, ruling Awami League’s Rangpur district organising secretary, filed the case on February 15. Today, the defence counsels argued that the kind of allegations levelled against the Star editor in the complaint do not have anything defamatory.
The complainant’s lawyer opposed it. After hearing, Senior Judicial Magistrate Md Shafiul Alam granted the bail upon a bond of Tk 1,000 with two guarantors. The court fixed May 26 for the next hearing. After filing of the case on February 15, the court fixed today for hearing and issued a summons for Anam to appear before it during the hearing.
A total of 79 cases including 17 pleading to bring charges of treason have been filed against Anam in 53 districts between February 9 and 22. A total compensation of Tk 1,32,811 crore has been sought for the damages.
The barrage of cases began days after the Star editor at a talk show on February 3 made an introspective comment about a lapse in his editorial judgement in publishing some reports, based on information given by the TFIC during the 2007-08 caretaker government’s tenure, without being able to verify those independently.
The cases have drawn condemnation from local and international journalists and journalist unions.