The former caretaker government adviser came under fire after calling journalist Masuda Bhatti “characterless” on a TV talk show
A Dhaka court has rejected the bail petition of barrister Mainul Hosein and sent him to jail in a defamation case.
Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Md Kaisarul Islam passed the order on Tuesday afternoon.
Khandker Mahbub, Sanaullah Mia, and a number of other BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami-leaning lawyers moved the bail plea on Mainul’s behalf.
Mainul, an adviser to the former caretaker government, was arrested in a defamation case filed in Rangpur. He faced severe criticism for calling journalist Masuda Bhatti "characterless" on a talk show that aired live on Ekattor TV last week.
Bhatti later sued him in a defamation case. Mainul has since been named in at least six other cases in: Jamalpur, Kurigram, Brahmanbaria, Bhola, Comilla, and Rangpur.
On Sunday, he secured advance bail from the High Court in the three cases filed in Dhaka, Jamalpur, and Kurigram.
He was arrested on Monday night—hours after a defamation case was filed with a Rangpur court by Mili Maya because of the comment. The court ordered Mainul’s arrest after it recorded the plaintiff’s statement.
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Mainul’s comment drew criticism from all quarters. Over a hundred female journalists and rights activists have demanded that Mainul apologise publicly; while Ektttor TV Chief Editor Mozammel Babu has said that the TV journalists have decided not to call Mainul to speak on any other program.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, too, criticized Mainul severely for his abusive remarks and said he was an “agent of the 1971 Pakistani forces” who was “no less responsible” for the killing of martyred journalist Serajuddin Hossain.
Hasina on Monday told female journalists to start cases and promised to do “whatever is needed to be done.”
BNP demands Mainul’s release
Meanwhile, the BNP has criticized the arrest of Mainul and demanded his release.
“We strongly criticize the arrest of barrister Mainul Hosein and demand his release,” BNP’s Senior Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi told a press briefing at the party’s Nayapaltan headquarters on Tuesday.
Mainul has played an active role in the formation of Jatiya Oikya Front—a coalition led by Dr Kamal Hossain that includes BNP as a major coalition partner.
Rizvi said the lawyer’s arrest in a defamation case was “unprecedented” and “illegal.”
“This arrest was made to hinder the movement to restore democracy,” he claimed. “Barrister Mainul was on bail … In the eyes of the government, his comments in favour of democracy and against ill-governance were his crimes.”