The High Court has refused to suspend charges against photojournalist Shafiqul Islam Kajol in three cases filed under the Digital Security Act (DSA), clearing the way for the trial court concerned to run trial proceedings in the cases.
The HC bench of Justice ASM Abdul Mobin and Justice Mohi Uddin Shamim issued the order on Tuesday (February 22) following three separate petitions filed by Kajol, seeking to quash the trial proceedings and the charges framed by a tribunal.
Barrister Jyotirmoy Barua appeared for the petitions, while Deputy Attorney General Sujit Chatterjee represented the state.
Sujit Chatterjee told media that the HC bench passed the rejection order considering the petitions were not presented properly. He also said that now there is no legal bar for the tribunal concerned to run the trial proceedings of the cases following the HC order.
On November 8 in 2021, the Cyber Tribunal in Dhaka framed charges against Kajol in the three cases.
Kajol went missing on March 10 in 2020, a day after Magura-1 MP Saifuzzaman Shikhor filed a case with Sher-e-Bangla Nagar police station, against him and 31 others, including editor of daily Manabzamin Matiur Rahman Chowdhury.
Jubo Mahila League’s central committee members Usmin Ara Belly and Sumaiya Chowdhury Bonya also filed two other separate cases with Hazaribagh and Kamrangirchar police stations under the DSA in that time.
They were sued under the DSA for publishing and sharing an article on various social media platforms about expelled Jubo Mohila League leader Shamima Noor Papia.
Investigation Officer Mohammad Russell Mollah, also a Sub-Inspector of Detective Branch of police, submitted three charge sheets of the cases to the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate’s Court of Dhaka on April 8, February 4 and March 14 in 2021 respectively.
Kajol was charged with circulating indecent, defamatory, objectionable, and fake information about some ministers, lawmakers, and top Jubo Mahila League leaders on Facebook in the cases.
After his 53 days of disappearance, Kajol was detained by Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) from Benapole border area on May 3 in 2020, and later he was produced in a Jashore court.
On November 24 in 2020, although the court granted him bail in the cases, he was sent to jail as the Kotwali police brought another charge against him under Section 54 of CrPC.
On December 17 that year, the High Court granted him bail in the remaining two cases filed under the DSA, clearing the way for his release. He was freed from Dhaka Central Jail on December 25 last year.