Bangladesh’s Supreme Court today stayed a High Court order granting bail to a woman lawyer and two of her associates arrested for allegedly financing a new Islamist militant group for weapon procurement.
The five-member apex court bench led by Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha stayed their bail until March 20 extending an earlier issued timeframe in line with a petition by the attorney general’s office.
Elite anti-crime Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) had arrested Barrister Shakila Farzana, the daughter of a former BNP lawmaker from Chittagong, and two of her lawyer associates in the Supreme Court on August 15 on charges of financing a little known Islamist outfit called Shahid Hamza Brigade (SHB).
The High Court on February 22 granted them bail, which was immediately challenged by the state which sought to get the order reverses by the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court.
RAB earlier said the three were arrested after the elite force gathered information that they provided Taka 10 million (USD 126359) to SHB for weapon procurement.
The trio, however, claimed that they had deposited the amount to an account which was taken as advance and that they were unaware of the owner of the account.
RAB said the account was owned by top SHB leader Moniruzzaman Don, who is in jail now.
Bangladesh identified SHB last year finding them active in southeastern port city of Chittagong after four of their members were arrested with weapons including five AK-22 rifles.
According to security officials, SHB, a relatively small group, was formed in 2013 with a mission to stage an armed revolution against the “oppression of Muslims” at home and abroad.
Farzana is the incumbent joint general secretary of the Supreme Court wing of Jatiyatabadi Ainjibi Forum, a grouping of lawyers who support main opposition BNP of former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia.