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Nizami Produced in court, sent to jail PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Jamaat-e-Islami chief and former minister Motiur Rahman Nizami produced before the chief metropolitan magistrate’s court MondayGATCO graft case

A Dhaka court sent Jamaat-e-Islami chief Motiur Rahman Nizami to jail Monday, after his arrest the previous night at his Moghbazar home in the GATCO graft case.

The Dhaka Chief Metropolitan Magistrate's Court simultaneously ordered jail authorities to treat Nizami as a first division prisoner and make arrangements for his medical treatment.

The Jamaat-e-Islami chief was produced in the courtroom of magistrate Md Waliul Islam shortly before 10am. An hour later, a prison van carrying Nizami left the court for Dhaka Central Jail.

On arrival in the courtroom, as Nizami settled on a first row bench, senior police officers requested his lawyers to escort the accused to the dock saying: "Mr Nizami is an arrestee; he is not here to surrender himself."

Nizami's lawyers protested, saying Sheikh Hasina was allowed to sit in the lawyers' corner when she was brought into the court after her arrest and the law should be equally applicable in all cases.

Since the courtroom dock looks like a cell encaged within an iron frame, the lawyers insisted on keeping the accused seated on the bench.

Large numbers of police were deployed in and around the CMM's court as Nizami was produced in court, while senior Jamaat-e-Islami leaders and supporters, including Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed, Kader Molla and Delwar Hossain Saidee, gathered in the area.

Moshiul Alam, lawyer for Nizami, told the court that Nizami was not included in the original chargesheet for the case.

Nizami's lawyer said his client was arrested illegally while his bail appeal remained pending with the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court.

He served for two ministries with honesty, the lawyer added.

"Nizami is the model of honesty in Bangladesh. Those who do not want wellbeing of Bangladesh have included him in the chargesheet," Alam said.

Alam told the magistrate: "As the case is filed under the emergency powers rules, there is no chance of considering bail. But we appeal for his bail as the charges are false—for that reason you should allow bail for my client."

The lawyer requested the court to allow Nizami to make a statement. The magistrate asked the accused to deliver no statements other than pertaining to the case.

"As the judiciary is independent now, I expect justice. I have been produced on charges of corruption that are very unfair to me," Nizami said.

"I served in the agriculture and industry ministries during the previous government's term. Nobody will find any corruption there even with if they search with a microscope."

"I was only a member of the purchase committee and signed my name," the Jamaat leader claimed.

"This is a politically motivated case. I was not involved in the GATCO deal."

"I was shown fugitive in the chargesheet. That is a false accusation. I was staying in my house and attending various meetings. Why did they show me fugitive?" he asked.

The police arrested Nizami at his Maghbazar home Sunday night amid protests by several hundred party supporters.

Nizami was taken to the Cantonment Police Station after arrest.

A former minister in the previous BNP-Jamaat coalition government, Nizami is the last of the chiefs of the three major political parties—after Sheikh Hasina and Khaleda Zia—to have been arrested in an anticorruption crackdown by the interim government.

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