A Bangladeshi lawyer tried to charge 4 people with “inciting discord”, including the director general of Al Jazeera Network, regarding an investigation into corruption at the highest levels of government.
A Bangladesh court rejected an attempt to “incite discord” against the acting general manager of Al Jazeera Media Network and 3 other people who contributed to an investigation into corruption at the highest levels in the country.
Lawyer Mosheer Malik had filed a case against Al-Jazeera on February 17th in a court in the capital, Dhaka, for “inciting sedition,” after an investigation by Al-Jazeera titled “The Prime Minister’s Men” revealed how the army chief in Bangladesh, General Aziz Ahmed, helped his brother Haris Ahmed Escape a prison sentence for the 1996 murder.
The investigation unit of the island managed to trace the traces of Ahmed’s guard in Hungary, where he lived under a false identity in the name of Muhammad Hassan and bought real estate and companies in Europe. The investigation released documents showing how the army chief abused his powers to help his brother escape.
Malik described the Al Jazeera report as “flawed and promoting illusions” and an attempt to “overthrow” the country’s government.
On Tuesday, local media reported that the Shaheed of Islam Court in Dhaka had ordered the withdrawal of the charges against the Acting Director General of Al Jazeera Media Network, Mustafa Souaq, journalists David Bergman, Tasnim Khalil, and businessman Zulkarnain Thaer Khan, because that judicial move was not authorized by the government of Bangladesh.
In all, 3 of the army chief’s brothers were convicted in 2004 of a murder in Dhaka that occurred eight years earlier, a conviction upheld by the Bangladesh Supreme Court in 2007.
One of the brothers, Joseph Ahmed, was sentenced to death, but in 2018, just weeks before General Aziz Ahmed was appointed head of the army, Bangladeshi President Abdul Hamid issued a decree to pardon and release him from prison.
The day before attorney Malik filed the sedition case earlier this month, it was revealed that the Bangladesh Home Minister had agreed to a secret deal to overturn the life sentence issued against General Ahmed’s two brothers, Haris and Anis Ahmed, for the murder.
As a result of that action in March 2019, the two brothers became free, despite their escape from justice after being convicted of the murder and not spending any time in prison.
The island discovered that Anis Ahmed was hiding in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, where he and a guard had bought a property, who was using a fake identity.
Days after the conclusion of the deal that dropped their prison sentence, a guard and Anis Ahmed attended a high-profile wedding ceremony celebrating the marriage of General Aziz Ahmed’s son, at the army headquarters in Dhaka, in which foreign guests participated and the President of the State Muhammad Abdul Hamid also attended.
Interior Minister Asad Al-Zaman Khan said that he was not aware of the deal, but he told the “Prothom Alo” newspaper that “the fugitive criminal does not get any legal rights, and in order to be able to obtain legal rights, he must surrender.”
The army in Bangladesh described the island’s investigation as a “malicious attempt to demean the chief of staff, who has highly professional skills that are universally accepted,” adding that the investigation did not provide “any convincing evidence”. General Aziz Ahmed insists that there are currently no criminal charges against his brothers.
Full investigation link: Al-Jazeera investigations – men of the prime minister