Ershad's Military Regime Illegal
Thursday, 26 August 2010

In a landmark verdict, the High Court has declared illegal the Seventh Amendment to the constitution that had legalised the autocratic regime of military strongman Hussein Muhammad Ershad.

The bench of justices A H M Shamsuddin Chowdhury and Sheikh Mohammad Zakir Hossain handed down the verdict on Thursday.

On Wednesday, the court set the date of the verdict following a hearing.

Anwar S Azim argued for the petitioner at the hearing on Wednesday while additional attorneys general MK Rahman and Murad Reza represented the state.

After the hearing, MK Rahman told journalists: "The constitution has no provisions for martial law or military rule. The then army chief HM Ershad illegally took over power."

He continued, "His [Ershad's] instatement of martial law, decrees, orders and rule over the country was illegal according to the constitution. He should be prosecuted for usurping power illegally and unconstitutionally."

On Apr 5, the High Court asked the government to explain why the Seventh Amendment which legalised the takeover of power by Ershad along with the martial law instructions made between 1982 and 1986 was not illegal.

The ruling came in response to a petition filed by Siddique Ahmed, a resident of Chittagong, who was convicted of murder during Ershad's martial law period.

The bench of justices Md Momtazuddin Ahmed and Naima Haider also granted Ahmed a six-month bail.


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