Sunday, February 1, 2009

Ranglai Mro still handcuffed

Handcuffed to his hospital bed, indigenous leader Ranglai Mro, who was brutally tortured, has been waiting 15 days for his bail order documents to reach the jail authorities from the High Court (HC).

The HC granted him bail on January 7 but the leader is still receiving treatment at the National Institute of Cardio Vascular Diseases (NICVD) under close watch of six to seven policemen.

“Until we receive papers from the court, we have been ordered to guard him in this way," said a policeman standing before his bed at Ward-6 of the hospital.

DIG (Prisons) Maj Shamsul Haider Siddique said the Dhaka Central Jail authorities did not receive any paper from the court and soon after receiving the papers he would take necessary steps to release the leader.

Bandarban District Jail authorities said they did not get any paper from HC as of yesterday.

Ranglai was arrested on February 24, 2007 and was tortured by law enforcers so severely that he fell ill and was moved to NICVD and kept in the Coronary Care Unit (CCU).

Even though he is in such a critical condition, the jail authorities had not removed his fetters till human rights organisations, Ain O Salish Kendra and the National Human Rights Commission, intervened.

Director of NICVD Mohibullah said his condition has improved a lot.

"I do not know how much more time it will take," said Ranglai with a tired voice adding that it is very inconvenient for him to move with the handcuffs on.

Mro, also chairman of the Sulaok Union Parishad of Bandarban, was arrested in a case filed under the Arms Act in connection with possession of illegal arms. He was convicted in the arms case on June 13, 2007, and sentenced to 17 years' imprisonment.

An HC division bench comprising Justice Mohammad Mozammel Hossain and Justice Afzal Hossain Ahmed issued his bail order on January 7.

Lawyers sought release of Mro on humanitarian grounds and for emergency medical treatment. They also argued that Mro had been falsely implicated in the case.