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DUJ faction seeks PM’s intervention for Mahfuz Anam

4A faction of Dhaka Union of Journalists (DUJ) on Thursday sought Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s intervention to withdraw all the cases filed against the Daily Star editor Mahfuz Anam.

In a statement, DUJ president Elahi Newaz Khan Saju and general secretary Khairul Alam Bakul said, “The 66 defamation cases involving Tk 87,000 core against Mahfuz Anam are harassing and shocking.”

They observed that the unprecedented cases against Anam can no way be suitable for democracy. “It’s nothing but evil efforts to gag media and stifle its independence.”

Mentioning that those who were involved in 1/11 changeover had earlier been pardoned, the DUJ leaders said, “It’s a settled issue. Even, it was heard that many leaders of the country’s two major parties were involved with the 1/11 episode, and almost all of them are now in place in their own parties.”

“But, bothersome cases one after another are being filed against Mahfuz Anam for reports published in the Daily Star seven years back. It demonstrated that Mahfuz Anam made a mistake by admitting his fault during the 1/11. It’s regrettable,” the statement reads.

The DUJ leader said they think Anam admitted his fault from his sense of ethics and principles. “The ground for 1/11 and its consequences are known to all. But, it can’t be justified the way cases are being filed against Mahfuz Anam.”

They demanded the cases be withdrawn.

A total of 69 cases, both defamation and sedition ones, were filed against Anam as of Wednesday on charge of publishing stories fed by intelligence agencies in his daily about Awami League President and then opposition leader Sheikh Hasina during the 2007-08 military-backed caretaker government.

Leaders of the ruling party and its associate bodies have started filing cases against the English daily editor after he in a Feb 3 television talk-show admitted to running stories in his newspaper fed by the military intelligence wing DGFI without any scrutiny during 2006-2008 rule of a caretaker government backed by the army.