Bangladesh`s ex-foreign secretary remanded in police custody
Last Updated: Monday, June 28, 2010, 23:09
Dhaka: Former Foreign Secretary and a top leader of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party has been remanded to custody on charges of assaulting police during yesterday's countrywide opposition shutdown.

Former foreign secretary and currently the Vice Chairperson of BNP, Shamsher Mobin Chowdhury, was picked up along with several party activists yesterday.

Police and court officials said Magistrate Roksana Begum ordered a one-day remand for Chowdhury, along with six other BNP activists, against a police prayer for seven days.

He was earlier escorted to the downtown court complex under heavy security escorts.

"He tried to strangulate a police officer, obstruct police from discharging duties and instigated violence during the stoppage," a government prosecutor told the court seeking the remand for the top foreign ministry diplomat.

Police yesterday said they arrested 167 BNP leaders and activists, including former mayor of Dhaka Mirza Abbas, on charges of instigating violence but Chowdhury was not named in the list of arrested people with a police spokesman saying he was just "detained".

"He (Chowdhury) is a former ambassador and top diplomat of the foreign ministry, he is a 1971 Liberation War veteran who had lost a leg in the war... how can a man of his stature can attack police or lead the street violence," a lawyer told the court defending Chowdhury.

Police and the elite anti-crime Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) forces patrolled Dhaka streets yesterday as the city witnessed scuffles between the activists and police, and the ruling Awami League's student wing activists in some places.

The other arrested party leaders included Begum Khalida Zia's advisers M A Mannan and Ahmed Azam Khan and Shaheed Uddin Chowdhury Anny.

BNP chief Zia last month called the shutdown to protest the government "failures" in delivering utility services and on other counts.

BNP's crucial ally in the past four-party coalition government, Jamaat-e-Islami, and several other rightwing parties also extended their support for the shutdown, the first during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's past one half year old government.


First Published: Monday, June 28, 2010, 23:09

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