*Note: Victim/Beneficiary’s names in all case studies have been replaced with pseudonyms.
Case Study (2010): Suppression of Violence Against Women and Children Act 2000 Litigation
(Reg. No: 22/362/2010)
Ananya, 8, studies in class 2. One day Ananya’s neighbor, Monir came to her house and took her on the pretext of giving her ice cream. Monir then raped her and ran away. Ananya came home crying and told her mother about the rape. Ananya’s mother took her to the hospital and other villagers went to the local thana to file a case. However, the thana was unwilling to register their complaint. Then they went to BLAST’s Faridpur Unit to seek legal support.
The BLAST Faridpur Unit staff provided them with legal assistance for filing the criminal case, and spoke to the police officers of the local thana and Superintendent of Police in Faridpur to seek an investigation. In the meantime, a case was filed under section 9 (1), Nari O Shishu Nirjatan Daman Ain 2000 (amended 2003) (Suppression of Violence against Women and Children Act 2000) with the assistance of BLAST’s Faridpur Unit. On 7 August 2012 the Court convicted the accused and sentenced him to serve five years rigorous imprisonment and to pay a Taka 20,000 fine.
Through BLAST’s legal support the perpetrator was brought to justice and Ananya was prevented from further sexual assault by Monir.
Case Study (2011): Domestic Violence Perpetrator Demanding Dowry Brought to Justice through Litigation
(Reg. No: 15/247/2011)
Sriya of married Farid in 2010 in accordance with Muslim personal law. In the marriage registration documents, the dower amount was fixed at Tk. 70,000 (seventy thousand). At the time of marriage, Sriya’s father gave Tk, 20,000 (twenty thousand taka) and furniture as a gift to the couple. However, Farid became very violent towards Sriya after their marriage, and started to demand payments of dowry from her and became violent when she failed to meet his demands. Ultimately when he demanded Tk. 25,000 (twenty five thousand) and Sriya could not pay, Farid threw her out of his house. She took shelter at her parents’ house. She came to know about BLAST through a local lawyer, and visited BLAST’s Rajshahi Office to seek legal assistance.
BLAST’s Rajshahi Office sent a letter to Farid calling him for mediation, but he refused to attend. When it became clear that mediation was not an option for resolution of the dispute, Sriya, with support from the BLAST unit office and represented by a Panel Lawyer filed a case on 14 July 2011, before the concerned Judicial Magistrate Court, Rajshahi under section 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1980. The trial court convicted the accused persons for three years rigorous imprisonment each with a Tk.10,000 (ten thousand taka) fine payable immediately.
Farid’s violence against Sriya and demands for dowry was successfully stopped and brought to justice through BLAST’s legal assistance.
Case Study (2012): Arrested Sex Worker Released on Bail
(Reg. No: 11/313/12)
For one year beginning in 2011, Rima worked at Rothkhola Brothel as a sex worker. Suja was a regular customer of Rani. On 8 September 2012 Suja came to Rima’s home and after they had sexual intercourse he suddenly became ill. Gradually his condition deteriorated and lost consciousness. The duty officer S.I Tapan Kumar was called and SI took Suja to the Sadar Hospital in Faridpur. Suja was proclaimed dead at the hospital. The local thana filed an unnatural death case and on 9 September, 2012 the police arrested Rima and Anju, the brothel owner. The dead body was sent for postmortem to the Faridpur Sadar Hospital.
The Faridpur Unit Coordinator, Adv Sipra Goswami was informed of this incident by Md. Salamot Hossain Khan, member of the Nyaaya Bichar Forum of Faridpur. The Nyaaya Bichar Forum (NBF) consists of researchers, journalists, students and lawyers assisting on monitoring the protection of fundamental rights and collaborates on fact finding for local people whose rights have been violated. The BLAST Faridpur office and members of the NBF along with some activists went to the police station and discussed the matter with the police officers. The police released Anju but based on their investigation, they sent Rima to the concerned court. On receiving her application, on 11 September 2012, BLAST engaged a lawyer and submitted an application for bail. On 21 October 2012 Rima was released on bail.
Rima was prevented from being unjustly prosecuted through BLAST’s legal aid.
Case Study (2012): Domestic Violence Act 2010 Litigation
(Reg. No: 19/2012)
Kameela married Kamrul, a businessman in 1991 under Muslim personal law. In 2005, Kameela found out that Kamrul had an extra marital affair with an office employee. They then started living separately within the same house. During this time, Kamrul did not provide her with maintenance regularly and also subjected her to physical and mental violence. On 6 January 2012, Kamrul suddenly became violent and threatened Kameela, demanding she get out of the house despite the fact that the sales deed of the flat was executed and registered jointly in both Kameela and Kamrul’s name. Kameela felt insecure at home, so she visited the BLAST Head Office in Dhaka and sought legal assistance. The BLAST Head Office took a prompt decision to take legal action against Kamrul under the Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Act 2010 (DV Act). The application was forwarded to BLAST’s Dhaka Unit Office.
On 11 January 2012, Kameela, with the assistance of BLAST’s lawyers, filed a case before the Court of the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Dhaka under section 11 (1) of the DV Act against Kamrul. On 12 February 2012, after a long hearing, the Court passed an order of ad interim protection and further ordered Kamrul to show cause within seven days as to why a permanent protection order should not be passed. During the final hearing, the lawyer for Kameela was able to prove her case and on 8 August 2012, the Court passed an order of permanent protection.
The case was filed with the support of BLAST’s Head Office and Dhaka Unit Office and conducted through a Panel Lawyer and his staff. Kameela has subsequently reported to the BLAST Head Office and the Dhaka Unit Office that she has been living at her house without any disturbance. With BLAST’s assistance Kameela’ right to be protected against domestic violence was upheld.
Case Study (2013): Arbitrary Arrest of Same Sex Partner Released on Bail
Amena, aged 21, is currently studying for her honours degree at a district town. Amena used to be a private tutor to Banani, aged 16, who lived with her parents next door. The two of them were attracted to each other and at one stage they decided to leave their homes and marry; they traveled to Dhaka to live there together. On a complaint by Banani’s father, the police with the help of Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) “rescued” Banani from the house, using mobile tracking devices, despite her protests that she had left on her own will, that she and Amena had married through customary rituals. Both of them were taken back to the district town, and Amena was brought before the Court. She was first taken on police remand and then sent to jail. Her parents claimed that they had had to pay the police in order to ensure that she was not subjected to ill-treatment. Amena was implicated, along with her parents, in a criminal case on charges of trafficking and abduction, in furtherance of a smear campaign of harassment and stigmatization by Banani’s father.
Having been informed about the matter through media reports, BLAST and Bandhu (human rights organization defending sexual minorities) on 1st August, 2013 conducted an on-site investigation. The fact finding team interviewed Amena at Pirojpur Police Station and learned that there was no evidence of trafficking and abduction and that they had indeed voluntary left together to get married. In a statement to the police, Banani stated that she and Amena had married according to Hindu law, having exchanged garlands of flowers. The police in their final investigation dropped the charges against Amena’s family and also dropped the charge of trafficking against her.
BLAST then secured legal representation for Amena, and applied for her bail before the learned Session Judge, Pirojpur. But, the learned Sessions Judge rejected the same without any reason. After this, Amena’s father directly contacted BLAST and ensured more effective communication with her. Subsequently, BLAST moved a bail application before the High Court Division of Bangladesh and the High Court Division was pleased to release Amena on bail for a period of six months. She was finally released after two months in jail. This case has taken a step towards protecting the rights of sexual minorities in preventing their arbitrary arrest.
Case Study (2015): Person with Mental Illness Released by Bail After 22 Years
(Case No: 215/1993)
Shubo, 60 years old, a person with mental disorder from Sylhet, was imprisoned for approximately 22 years in Sylhet prison from 11 July, 1993 to 12 October 2015. On 11 July, 1993, the police arrested him as suspected accused when they found him walking back and forth in front of the Sylhet court. He was then sent to prison under Section 13 of The Lunacy Act 1912. Though he had committed no crime, he had no lawyer to prove his innocence. His family also did not know about his arrest. IRSOP paralegal was informed about the case by the prison authority on 2nd September 2015. Shubo’s case was presented in the first Case Coordination Committee (CCC) meeting of IRSOP project on 8 September 2015. After that, a lawyer was recruited for Shubo. IRSOP paralegal handed over the case information and case related documents to the lawyer and on 13 October 2015 Shubo was released from prison by bail. Now he lives with his family.