Bangladesh wants ex-president prosecuted, punished


Dhaka : Bangladesh’s longest serving president Hussain Mohammad Ershad had captured state power by illegal means and he should be prosecuted and punished, a senior government law officer told a court Wednesday.

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Additional Attorney General M.K. Rahman told the high court here that there is no provision in the country’s constitution and in the existing law for promulgating martial law and occupying the state power, Star Online, the website of The Daily Star, reported.

Ershad, a former army chief, had done so after the May 1981 assassination of then president Ziaur Rahman and later became the country’s president, ruling it till December 1990.

Ershad is currently a lawmaker and his Jatiya Party is a constituent of the ruling alliance led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

M.K. Rahman told the court that as an army chief, Ershad illegally captured the state power and that decrees and orders issued by him were illegal and unconstitutional.

Rahman was making submissions before the court hearing a writ petition challenging the legality of the seventh amendment of the constitution. This amendment had approved the take-over of state power by Ershad and his activities, he added.

Rahman said that as per the constitution, there is no scope for the parliament to enact any martial law.

He pointed out that the Supreme Court last month disapproved the promulgation of martial law and regulation in its judgment in a case regarding the fifth amendment of the constitution.

A high court bench of Justice A.H.M. Shamsuddin Chowdhury Manik and Justice Sheikh Md Zakir Hossain may deliver the judgment in the matter Thursday, Star Online reported.